Nissan board members on Thursday voted unanimously to sack Carlos Ghosn after his arrest on Tuesday.
Ghosn stands accused of under-reporting his income by millions of dollars and a host of other financial irregularities, alleged after a months-long internal Nissan probe following a whistleblower report.
His ouster as chairman represents an astonishing turnaround for the titan of the auto sector who revived the Japanese brand and forged an alliance with Renault and Mitsubishi Motors, which sold a combined 10.6 million cars last year — more than any other firm.
It also throws the future of the alliance into doubt, as Ghosn was the architect of the fractious tie-up — which employs 450,000 people globally — and the glue holding it together.
“After reviewing a detailed report of the internal investigation, the board voted unanimously to discharge Carlos Ghosn as chairman of the board,” the statement said.
His fate as Nissan chairman appeared sealed just hours later as his hand-picked successor as CEO, Hiroto Saikawa launched an impassioned broadside at his former mentor, muttering about a “dark side” to the Ghosn era and urging his sacking.
Even after being jettisoned as chairman, Ghosn remains technically a member of the board as a full shareholders’ meeting is required to remove him.
Nissan said it would study the creation of a “special committee” to take advice from a third party on improving its internal governance and executive pay.