Renault-Nissan Alliance: New holding company chairman named

Andrew Cummings
February 15, 2019

The board of Renault was poised to cancel as much as 30 million euros (US$34 million) in deferred pay and severance to its ousted boss Carlos Ghosn, as directors met on Wednesday to approve its full-year accounts, sources told Reuters.

A month after Ghosn resigned from Renault, the company's board announced it would not pay the equivalent of two years of salary to the 64-year-old under a non-compete clause in his contract, estimated to be worth 4 million euros ($4.5 million).

However, it was not clear whether they had stepped down voluntarily or had been dismissed by Ghosn. A further negative impact is expected this year, the company said.

He also pointedly declined to criticise Ghosn's detention conditions, despite some global concern about the repeated extension of the auto executive's pre-trial detention.

In the latest twist to a saga that has gripped Japan and the business world since his stunning arrest in November, Ghosn confirmed in a statement from his detention centre that he had hired a new lead counsel.

Ohtsuru is a former star Tokyo prosecutor.

"I look forward to defending myself vigorously, and this represents the beginning of the process of not only establishing my innocence but also shedding light on the circumstances that led to my unjust detention", the Franco-Brazilian-Lebanese executive said.

The surprise shake-up came on the eve of an expected first meeting between the Tokyo District Court, prosecutors, and defence lawyers to discuss the outlines of Ghosn's eventual trial.

Additionally, Renault also plans to withhold stock-based pay (amounting to millions from 2015 to 2018) from Ghosn that was dependent on his continued presence in the company.

Nissan was seeking "evidence to support allegations against Carlos Ghosn after his arrest" and failed to consult its French partner, according to the newspaper.

Last month, Ghosn was forced to resign as Renault's chief.

Shareholder advisory group Proxinvest estimates he could be eligible for an annual pension payout of 765,000 euros a year.

Ghosn was arrested on November 19.

Renault said in a statement that its board unanimously made a decision to waive Ghosn's "non-compete commitment and, consequently, not to pay the corresponding compensation equal to two years fixed and variable compensation".

Mr Hironaka has won some high-profile cases, including the acquittal in 2012 of a senior politician, Ichiro Ozawa, who was charged with false accounting in a land deal.

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