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Asia-Pacific

Nissan sacks fallen tycoon Ghosn as chairman

media A street monitor showing a news report about arrest of Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn is seen next to Christmas illuminations in Tokyo, Japan November 21, 2018. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

Nissan board members have sacked disgraced tycoon Carlos Ghosn as chairman, after his spectacular arrest for financial misconduct stunned the car industry and the business world.

In a unanimous vote, top executives from crisis-hit Japanese car giant Nissan voted to remove Ghosn from the top of the firm, local media reported Thursday.

"After reviewing a detailed report of the internal investigation, the board voted unanimously ... to discharge Carlos Ghosn as Chairman of the Board," the firm said.

Hiroto Saikawa, who Ghosn had appointed to be his successor, now takes over as interim chairman.

Ghosn, once a revered figure in Japanese society, stands accused of under-reporting his income by millions of dollars and a host of other financial irregularities.

The 64-year-old is currently being held in a Tokyo jail after his arrest Monday on charges of falsifying financial documents.

Fall from grace

His fall from grace has rattled the powerful auto alliance he created, and raised questions about the complex shareholding and voting pattern between Nissan and Renault.

Ahead of the vote, Renault had tried to put pressure on its Japanese partner to delay its decision on Ghosn's fate, according to Reuters news agency.

So far, Renault's board members have refrained from firing the Brazilian-born tycoon while awaiting more detail on the allegations. However, Thierry Bollore, Ghosn's operational second-in-command, has taken over as deputy chief executive, while lead independent director Philippe Lagayette is acting as interim chairman.

Merger in pipeline

The French government, which owns 15 percent of Renault, has nonetheless begun to distance itself from Ghosn, with Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire saying Tuesday that he "is no longer in a position where he is capable of leading Renault."

Ghosn was instrumental in forging the alliance between Nissan and Renault, and had been planning to merge the two before his downfall, according to reports.

He also runs Mitsubishi, and many analysts feel with him gone the alliance will suffer. Nissan nonetheless stressed that its alliance with its French counterpart Renault will "remained unchanged", even with Ghosn gone.

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