Nissan shareholders kick ex-chairman Carlos Ghosn off board

Kyodo  Reuters

Shareholders of Nissan called a meeting on Monday to remove the company's boss Carlos Ghosn from the board. The meeting also saw shareholders vote to remove Greg Kelly, a United States executive who served as Ghosn's right-hand man and who also faces charges in Japan, and approve a motion to replace Ghosn with Renault chairman Jean-Dominique Senard.

Ghosn, who famously rescued Nissan from the brink of bankruptcy two decades ago and forged a partnership with France's Renault that has become one of the world's biggest car-making alliances, was arrested again by Tokyo prosecutors last week on suspicion he tried to enrich himself to the tune of $5 million at the company's expense.

He and other executives bowed deeply before the thousands of shareholders at the meeting as it opened. French automaker Renault is Nissan's largest owner.

According to BBC News, the Nissan shareholders also voted to get rid of Greg Kelly, US executive who served as Ghosn's right-hand man.

The 65-year-old, who after his first arrest spent 108 days at the Tokyo Detention House, has denied all charges, with his lawyer Junichiro Hironaka slamming Japan's judicial system as being akin to "hostage justice".

Senard was introduced to the meeting near the end, when he reassured shareholders that he'd do his best to continue business as usual, just without the scandal-y parts.

Saikawa started the meeting by apologizing for the inconvenience the scandal had caused, which was followed by a deep bow by him and a panel of Nissan executives and directors.

Ghosn's wife Carole Ghosn, who was with her husband in Tokyo when he was arrested last week, appealed to French President Emmanuel Macron for help.

Al Jazeera's Fadi Salameh, reporting from Tokyo, said the shareholders meeting is "very important step in the case". At left is Nissan Chief Executive Hiroto Saikawa.

"I am very anxious about the performance and future of Nissan", said Ghosn, widely credited with saving the Japanese firm from the brink of bankruptcy.

"It is really such a pity as he was a brilliant manager", Miyamoto said of Ghosn before heading into the meeting. He says the compensation he allegedly underreported was never decided on or paid. Nissan sacked Ghosn as chairman nearly immediately after his initial arrest but an extraordinary meeting of shareholders is required to remove him from the board "Some of them you have seen in the press, but there are others that haven't been in the press", he said.

"As a French citizen, it should be a right". The date of his trial is not set.

Ghosn's arrest came the day after he joined Twitter and posted that he would "tell the truth" about what happened in a press conference on Thursday 11 April.

Saikawa told shareholders the company will stick by the alliance, fix its governance problems and make the ouster of Ghosn "a turning point". "He held his head high and he was calm", she said.

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