Renault-Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn to be fired (3rd Update)

Carlos Ghosn may be fired by Renault putting Nissan and Renault's motorsports involvement in jeopardy
Abiteboul says Carlos Ghosn arrest does not put Renault's motorsports involvement in jeopardy

UPDATE Speaking in Abu Dhabi today, team boss Cyril Abiteboul was adamant that Ghosn's departure will not affect the F1 program.

"It's fair to say that, indeed, Carlos Ghosn was instrumental in the decision to return in late 2015," said the Frenchman, "but obviously it's not just one man's decision. It was debated at length in executive committee, at board level, and that was the decision of the company.

"We have been racing in Formula 1 since more than 40 years," he continued. "We are part-way on the journey of a long-term plan, six years. Six years to build the team, six years to hopefully challenge these guys. That's where the focus is at the minute.

"There is a clear continuity of all the operations with Thierry Bollore," he said of Ghosn's replacement, "who is no stranger to Formula 1, as he has been a director of the board of the team since 2016, so obviously this is where we need to focus and support Renault in that overall continuity.

"We have no information that there will be any impact. We don't see any reason why there would be more impact on this program than on anything else.

"For the time being: continuity, focus on what we have to do, which is complete the championship in the best possible way this weekend and then focus on the second phase of our plan in Formula 1, and this is the success that will matter, the success or lack of success, and this is where I need to deliver."

Minded however of the impact 'corporate scandals' have had on the likes of Volkswagen (VAG), who subsequently quit the WEC and rallying in the aftermath of the emission scandal, and that therefore his claim was somewhat optimistic, Abiteboul said: "In fairness, I don't think I was willing to sound optimistic because it's a substantial piece of development for the whole group.

"I think my message is simply that there is a continuity plan for all the operations of the Renault Group as well as Nissan and Mitsubishi," he continued. "Formula One is part of this operation. It's an object and an activity which is well known, very visible and receiving lots of exposure with clear expectations of return on investment and contribution to the business.

Abiteboul at the press conference
Abiteboul at the press conference

"I think that the reason why we joined Formula One in the way that we joined Formula One back in late 2015 are still here today: for exposure, for technology development. There is no reason why those factors are suddenly going away in case of any development, for which I don't want to speculate at this point in time.

"So if Formula 1 is still a good value proposition in the past, it has no reason not to be also in the future.

"I'm just saying that it will, in my opinion, be in our hands and this is where I will be focusing my efforts rather than in speculation. It's in our hands to deliver the best possible result also for the best given cost to the company that will then continue to monitor this activity as an any other activity.

"I have absolutely no indication that, for instance, Thierry Bollore is not keen on Formula 1. Again, he's a director of our company, has very good knowledge of what we are doing, so optimism, no skepticism, just focusing on facts and what we need to deliver."

11/20/18 Renault Statement: The Board of Directors of Renault held today adopted transitional governance measures to preserve the interests of the Group and the continuity of its operations.

The Board was chaired by the lead independent director Mr. Philippe Lagayette after the opening of judicial proceedings against Mr. Carlos Ghosn in Japan. At this stage, the Board is unable to comment on the evidence seemingly gathered against Mr. Ghosn by Nissan and the Japanese judicial authorities.

Mr. Ghosn, temporarily incapacitated, remains Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. The Board of Directors resolved to appoint Mr. Thierry Bollore on a temporary basis as Deputy Chief Executive Officer Mr. Bollore will therefore lead the management team of the Group, having the same powers as Mr. Carlos Ghosn.

During this period, the Board will meet on a regular basis under the chairmanship of the lead independent director to protect the interests of Renault and the sustainability of the Alliance.

The Board decided to request Nissan, on the basis of the principles of transparency, trust and mutual respect set forth in the Alliance Charter, to provide all information in their possession arising from the internal investigations related to Mr. Ghosn.

The Board endorsed the support expressed by the Nissan management to the Renault Nissan Mitsubishi Alliance, which remains the priority of the Group.

11/19/18 Nissan Motor Co. said Monday that it will dismiss its chairman after finding that he under-reported his income "over many years," among other allegations of misconduct.

The Yokohama-based company said the violations were discovered during an investigation over several months that was instigated by a whistleblower. Brazilian-born Carlos Ghosn, 64, also allegedly engaged in personal use of company assets, it said.

Nissan said it was providing information to the prosecutors and cooperating with their investigation. The allegations also concern another Nissan executive, its representative director Greg Kelly.

Japanese media said Ghosn voluntarily submitted to questioning by Tokyo prosecutors on Monday.

11/19/18 Nissan chairman Renault chief executive Carlos Ghosn has been arrested in Tokyo according to reports for allegedly understating his income with the automotive group.

Ghosn is suspected to have under-reported his pay package in the company's financial reports for the purpose of dissimulating his true compensation.

In a statement, Nissan said that "over many years" Ghosn and another senior executive, Greg Kelly, had been "reporting compensation amounts in the Tokyo Stock Exchange securities report that were less than the actual amount, in order to reduce the disclosed amount of Carlos Ghosn’s compensation".

But Ghosn's misdeeds apparently extend beyond a reporting issue.

"Numerous other significant acts of misconduct have been uncovered, such as personal use of company assets, and Kelly’s deep involvement has also been confirmed," added Nissan.
The market value of both automotive companies took a hit at the open this morning in Europe, with Nissan losing 12% on the Frankfurt stock exchange and Renault falling by approximately the same amount in Paris.

In 2016, Ghosn approved Renault's return to Formula 1 as a works teams for 2017, and Renault Sport's five-year investment plan destined to bring the manufacturer back to the front of the grid.

The 64-year-old's likely ousting from the Nissan-Renault group will inevitably lead to questions about Renault's commitment to F1 and the future of the French outfit.

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