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November 26, 2018

Mitsubishi Motors dumps Ghosn as chairman, remains on board

Carlos Ghosn was today (26 November) removed as chairman and a representative director of Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) and is now only a board member.

By Olly Wehring

Carlos Ghosn was today (26 November) removed as chairman and a representative director of Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) and is now only a board member.

In a a tersely worded statement headed 'notice of change of representative directors' MMC said Osamu Masuko, previously CEO, a board member and representative director, had added chairman to his responsibilities, replacing Ghosn.

MMC said: "[The board] today resolved to discharge [Ghosn] as representative director and chairman of the board at MMC for the reasons that, while [Ghosn] took the position[s]… based on the strategic alliance agreement between MMC and Nissan, he has lost the confidence of Nissan; and that it is considered difficult for [Ghosn] to continue conducting his activities…

In Ghosn's absence, Masuko would be temporary chairman until the next general shareholders meetings, the statement added.

A New York Times report said Ghosn, who was stripped of the chairmanship of Nissan last week in a unanimous vote of the board, remained in a Tokyo detention centre where he sees his lawyer for about an hour each day.

He is being questioned by prosecutors after Nissan said he underreported his income to Japanese regulators over several years. He has not been charged with any crime, the report noted.

Masuko had said, if Ghosn remained as chairman, it could expose Mitsubishi to "reputation risk", the paper added.

The paper added prosecutors had also been questioning Greg Kelly, a former Nissan human resources manager who was also removed from the automaker's board last week over allegations he conspired with Ghosn to underreport Ghosn's compensation in government securities filings and to use company funds for personal expenses.

Nissan had described Kelly as "the mastermind of this matter, together with Carlos Ghosn", the New York Times said.  

NYT – 

Carlos Ghosn, one of the auto industry's most powerful leaders, lost another title on Monday when the board of Mitsubishi Motors removed him as chairman, one week after he was arrested in Tokyo on suspicion of financial misconduct.

Mr. Ghosn, who was stripped of the chairmanship of Nissan last week in a unanimous vote of the board, remains in a Tokyo detention center, where he sees his lawyer for about an hour or so each day. He is being questioned by prosecutors after Nissan said that he underreported his income to Japanese regulators over several years. He has not been charged with any crime.

In a statement on Monday, Osamu Masuko, chief executive of Mitsubishi, said the board had removed Mr. Ghosn because "he lost the trust of Nissan and he cannot execute his duties as chairman and representative director any longer."

Mr. Masuko added that if Mr. Ghosn remained as chairman, it could expose Mitsubishi to "reputation risk."

It has been a remarkably swift fall from grace for Mr. Ghosn. He has long been admired in Japan, where Nissan employs more than 22,000 people and Mitsubishi employs more than 30,000. He was known as the man who rescued Nissan, becoming one of his generation's most successful chief executives as he orchestrated an alliance with Renault and Mitsubishi that effectively made the group the world's largest seller of cars.

Prosecutors have also been questioning Greg Kelly, a former Nissan human resources manager who was also removed from the company's board last week over allegations that he conspired with Mr. Ghosn to underreport Mr. Ghosn's compensation in government securities filings and to use company funds for personal expenses. Nissan has described Mr. Kelly as "the mastermind of this matter, together with Carlos Ghosn."  

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