Paris: The woes keep mounting for Carlos Ghosn.
Renault’s board voted unanimously Wednesday to cancel tens of millions of euros in compensation that he was set to receive as its chairman and chief executive, days after the French carmaker notified judicial authorities that he may have misused company money.
Also Wednesday, the embattled executive hired a star Japanese lawyer known as “the Razor” to prepare for his trial in Tokyo. Ghosn has been detained since November, facing charges of financial wrongdoing as the head of Nissan, the Japanese carmaker that he also ran as part of a global auto alliance with Renault and Mitsubishi.
Renault, in a statement, said its board would waive a clause in Ghosn’s contract that would have granted him the equivalent of two years’ salary for not going to work for a competitor.
Ghosn resigned from Renault last month. The windfall would have been worth about 5 million euros (Dh20.57 million; $5.6 million), according to a person with knowledge of the matter, who was not authorised to speak publicly.
The board also voted to cancel Ghosn’s right to long-term deferred performance shares included in compensation agreements dating back to 2014. The payouts were “subject to his presence within Renault,” the company said in a statement. His resignation invalidated that part of his contract, the statement said.
But given Ghosn’s continued incarceration, “such condition is not met, thereby triggering the loss of Mr. Ghosn’s rights” to the shares, it added. Renault didn’t specify how many shares were being cancelled, although Proxinvest, a French shareholder group, estimated the amount was worth over 20 million euros.
Renault’s board will meet March 15 to decide how much Ghosn, who is still a Renault director, will be paid for his work in 2018. Because Ghosn has been unable to manage Renault since his arrest, his pay will most likely be reduced, the person familiar with the matter said.
Until recently, Renault had stood behind Ghosn. But last month, as he was denied bail twice, Ghosn stepped down, paving the way for the French automaker to appoint new leadership. Ghosn had already been stripped of his leadership at Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors.
Jean-Dominique Senard, Renault’s new chairman, has said he wants to repair the rift that has opened between Renault and Nissan since Nissan accused Ghosn of hiding large parts of his income from Japanese regulators. Each company has viewed the other as trying to seize the opportunity to tip the balance of power of the alliance in its favour.
— New York Times News Service