Top executives from Mitsubishi Motors gathered on Monday to sack Carlos Ghosn as chairman over alleged financial misconduct that the once-revered tycoon denies, as further allegations leaked out against him.
“During today’s board meeting, it was decided that he is dismissed as chairman,” the company said in a statement.
The Japanese car manufacturer’s chief executive Osamu Masuko will become temporary chairman.
The decision was made at an emergency meeting in Tokyo.
Following his stunning arrest last Monday, the 64-year-old Brazil-born Frenchman began his second week in a Japanese detention center facing allegations he under-reported his salary to the tune of $44 million over several years.
He has not been formally charged and denies the allegations, telling prosecutors he had no intention of under-declaring his compensation.
Fellow executive Greg Kelly, described as the mastermind behind the alleged misconduct, has also reportedly denied the allegations, stressing that his boss’s compensation was paid in an appropriate fashion.
The board of Nissan decided unanimously on Thursday to oust Ghosn as chairman, a spectacular fall from grace for the dynamic businessman credited with turning around the firm’s once-flagging fortunes by tying its fate to Renault.
The executives made their decision “based on the copious amount and compelling nature of the evidence of misconduct presented,” said a company spokesman.
According to local media, Nissan formed a “secret” cell within the firm to look into the alleged financial misdeed.
Renault is the dominant partner in the alliance, holding 43 percent of the shares in Nissan, but the Japanese firm outsells its French counterpart – sparking concern in Tokyo about the balance of power.
Together, the three-way alliance is the world’s top-selling car company, with some 10.6 million vehicles rolling off the production line. It employs around 450,000 people worldwide.
Renault, which is 15-percent owned by the French state, has decided to stick by Ghosn for now, appointing an interim boss while the current CEO and chairman is “incapacitated”.