Nissan Motor removed Carlos Ghosn from its board at an extraordinary shareholders meeting in Tokyo on Monday after the former chairman was charged with financial misconduct and breach of trust.
At the start of Monday’s meeting at a Tokyo hotel, Nissan president Hiroto Saikawa and other executives apologized for the scandal, bowing deeply in front of about 4,100 shareholders.
“I would like to apologize sincerely as a representative of the company for having caused concern and trouble,” Saikawa said, a reference to Nissan, Ghosn and his right-hand man Greg Kelly having been indicted over understating the former chairman’s income.
Saikawa however declined to step down to take responsibility for the scandal.
He instead vowed to “be responsible for the present and the future” of Nissan.
Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors dismissed Ghosn as chairman at board meetings following his arrest in November while he stepped down as chairman and chief executive of Renault in January.
On Monday, shareholders also voted to remove Kelly from the board, while approving the appointment of Renault’s new chairman Jean-Dominique Senard as a new member.
Renault owns a 43-per-cent stake in Nissan, giving it a lead position in the alliance, while Nissan has only a 15-per-cent non-voting stake in the French carmaker.
“Nissan sees building the best possible corporate governance structure as an urgent task and is working on swift implementation of a three statutory-committee format (nomination, compensation and audit),” the company said in a statement.
In 1999, Renault sent Ghosn to spearhead a turnaround at Nissan, which nearly went bankrupt, after forging a capital alliance with the Japanese carmaker.
The French-Brazilian businessman reinvigorated Nissan, and the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Motors alliance sold more than 10 million vehicles in 2018.
The 65-year-old Ghosn is currently in detention over a new allegation that he was responsible for Nissan sustaining a 5-million-dollar loss. He could stay there until April 14.
His re-arrest on Thursday came nearly a month after he was released on bail from the Tokyo Detention Centre in early March pending trial on financial misconduct charges. He has denied the charges against him.
The prolonged pretrial detention was criticized overseas though his release after 108 days was unusually quick for Japan, where long detentions are sometimes referred to as “hostage justice.”
Ghosn’s lawyer Junichiro Hironaka harshly criticized the prosecutors’ move, saying Ghosn’s rearrest while on bail was an “outrageous act that should not happen in a civilized country.”