End of the line for Carlos Ghosn

Former high-flying executive is now unemployed and languishing in jail as former Michelin boss takes Renault top job

Carlos Ghosn

The fall of former Renault/Nissan/Mitsubishi Alliance chief Carlos Ghosn is complete. The Lebanese-born Brazilian businessman has been forced to resign from his last role within the group, that of chief executive officer of Renault, as he awaits trial in a Japanese jail on various financial charges.

Ghosn, centre, with his family in Paris

Ghosn, 64, resigned as chairman and CEO of the French carmaker on Wednesday, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told Bloomberg.

Ghosn was then officially replaced as chairman by Michelin chief Jean-Dominique Senard, and as CEO by Thierry Bollore, who has been filling in on an interim basis.

Senard, whose tenure at Michelin was drawing to a close, will work across both roles until May, and has asked for a reduced salary until then. In a strange irony, Ghosn started his automotive career at the French tyre maker.

Despite his career being abruptly ended by Nissan, Ghosn is widely credited with saving the Japanese carmaker, slashing jobs and closing factories to save it from bankruptcy in the early part of the century.

He was in the midst of doing something similar with Mitsubishi, but his plans to bring cost savings and shared development costs across all three makers were not finalised and may see Mitsubishi strike troubled times as the wider industry contracts.

Ghosn stands accused of under-reporting his personal income to Japanese authorities to the tune of tens of millions of dollars, while more recently, charges that Ghosn transferred personal stock losses to Nissan have also been added.

He has been jail since November, and may well stay there until his trial starts in the middle of this year. If convicted, Ghosn could be incarcerated for more than ten years. It is a far cry from his former life where he maintained lavish homes and apartments in Paris, Beirut and Rio de Janeiro.


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