On the day of Carlos Ghosn’s arrest, among the carmakers in the Alliance, and in the margin of the very swift and organised response of Nissan via its press conference, Renault proceeds with the most caution.
On the evening of 19 November 2018, Renault indicates through its board members that a meeting will be scheduled as soon as possible and that “while waiting for detailed information from Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and CEO, the Directors consulted express their commitment to defending the interests of the Renault group in the Alliance”.
In contrast, Mitsubishi states in a press release that it will “recommend to the board of directors the swift removal of Ghosn from his role as chairman of the board of directors and as the representative board member on the MMC.”
However, the governance crisis was already underway. Carlos Ghosn was planning further integration and that according to someone close to the board: “The board [of Nissan] always said they would fight very hard against a reorganisation”.
Each of the parties involved hide behind their own objectives and different schedules, which leads to a steady dismissal for Carlos Ghosn.
In Tokyo on 20 November 2018, the day after Carlos Ghosn’s arrest, the court approves an extension of 10 days to Carlos Ghosn’s detention in police custody (that is until 30 November 2018).
In France, the board of directors of Renault states in a press release that as Mr Ghosn is being temporarily held, he retains his role as Chairman and CEO but that Mr Thierry Bolloré is temporaririly named acting CEO. It is therefore Thierry Bolloré who leads Renault’s executive management team, and he has the same authority as Mr Ghosn.
In an internal message sent to Renault employees, that was seen by the Financial Times, Thierry Bolloré, mentions that the French carmaker will not criticize its fallen Chairman and CEO, on the contrary: “In your name, we wanted to express here our full support to our Chairman and CEO”.
On 22 November Nissan, as announced by Hiroto Saikawa two days earlier, the board of directors of Nissan announces the unanimous decision to dismiss Carlos Ghosn and Greg Kelly.
Mitsubishi makes the same decision on 26 November.
Very quickly, Carolos Ghosn is let go in favour of maintaining the facade of the Alliance. Although the Board of Directors of Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi reiterated their commitment to the Alliance in a message on 29 November 2019, all of the influential figures in political, media and economic circles doubt that it is sufficient to put the Alliance back on the rails after the earthquake triggered by the fall of Carlos Ghosn.
According to the trade publication Automotive IQ, certain questions are particularly troublesome for the Alliance:
“While the French side seems to have been caught off guard by the events which are taking place, Saikawa, who opposes a merger between the companies, is openly looking to improve the negotiating position of the Japanese carmaker in the framework of a partnership which, according to him, has favoured the French side for too long. …But while its leader has been removed, Ghosn’s legacy on the other hand will be a lot more difficult to replace”.Peter Els, Automotive IQ, 27 November 2018