Carlos Ghosn, who remains in prison for his part in the misconduct scandal in the Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi Alliance, has officially stepped down as chairman, with outgoing Michelin CEO Jean-Dominique Senard set to replace him.
As reported back in November 2018, Ghosn was arrested for gross financial misconduct after failing to accurately report his earnings. It is believed that he under-reported earnings by around 5bn yen (£34m) over a five-year period from 2011.
At the time, an internal Nissan investigation revealed that “over many years both Ghosn and [another senior executive Greg] Kelly have been reporting compensation amounts in the Tokyo Stock Exchange securities report that were less than the actual amount, in order to reduce the disclosed amount of Carlos Ghosn’s compensation.”
Nissan added: “Numerous other significant acts of misconduct have been uncovered, such as personal use of company assets, and Kelly’s deep involvement has also been confirmed.”
Ghosn was swiftly removed from his positions at Nissan and Mitsubishi, but Renault have taken much longer to decide the fate of their disgraced chairman.
In fact, Ghosn voluntarily stepped down as chairman ahead of Renault’s board meeting on Thursday.
Under recommendation from the French government – who own shares in Renault – Jean-Dominique Senard will be named as the new director and chairman, while Thierry Bollore, who acted as Ghosn’s deputy, will be kept on as chief executive officer.
In a statement, Renault said that they were seeking advice from their new chairman on their current structure and, if necessary, implement changes.
The statement said: “In addition to all the functions normally performed by the Chairman of the Board, the new Chairman of the Board of Directors of Renault will have to evaluate and, if necessary, change Renault’s governance in order to ensure the transition to the new structure.
“He will present his proposals on the evolution of governance to the Board of Directors before the next General Shareholders’ Meeting.
“In addition, Renault’s Board of Directors wishes to supervise actively the functioning of the Alliance and decides to give its Chairman full responsibility for managing the Alliance on behalf of Renault, in liaison with the Chief Executive Officer.”
Ghosn approved of Renault’s return to F1 a couple of years ago and, whilst there is little chance of anything happening to their F1 programme in the near future, the Enstone-based team will be curious to see what happens at the helm of Renault in the coming months.
Along with his new role at Renault, Senard will continue in his position as CEO of Michelin until May 2019 when his current contract expires.
Given Michelin’s commitment to various motorsport series, such as Formula E, the World Rally Championship and the World Endurance Championship, it’s difficult to imagine Renault’s new CEO suddenly being put off by Renault’s current Formula One venture.
By: Luke Murphy
All images: Motorsport Images