One of the titans of the automotive world has suffered a spectacular fall from grace after he was arrested in Japan, and now risks spending a decade in prison.
Carlos Ghosn, the executive calling the shots at three of the world’s largest car companies, has been sacked following his arrest and will face charges for “significant acts of misconduct”.
The Nissan chairman faces allegations including the under-reporting of his personal income by around $61 million over five years.
Jack Lowenstein, chief investment officer at Morphic Asset Management, told Trading Day that it was difficult to overstate Ghosn’s influence on the automotive world.
“It’s truly remarkable that the guy who basically saved Nissan from insolvency when he persuaded Renault to buy into it 20 years ago and was until today chairman of Nissan, should be arrested,” Lowenstein said.
The arrest is a dramatic development in an intriguing story, which gets to the heart of international tensions between two-unlikely adversaries, Lowenstein said.
“Renault owns about 43 per cent of Nissan and has got voting rights so it’s really in effective control, whereas Nissan owns 15 per cent of Renault and has no voting rights, and Renault itself is basically French government controlled,” he explained.
“It hasn’t been an entirely happy story in Japan that one of the major lights of Japanese industry is actually controlled by the French government,” Lowenstein added.
Ghosn, one of the most high-profile players in the car world, was also central to the alliance between French brand Renault, and Japan’s Nissan and Mitsubishi.
The three combined make one in nine cars sold worldwide, and employ around half a million people.
It is a spectacular fall for the high-flying, Brazillian-born businessman who started his career at French tyremaker Michelin and worked his way to the top of its North American operations.
Ghosn moved on to help steer Renault before he took the reins at Nissan, credited with saving the Japanese car maker from the Global Financial Crisis (GFC).
He was appointed CEO at Nissan before he held the role at Renault as well, becoming the first executive to simultaneously run two Fortune 500 companies.
Watch the full interview with Jack Lowenstein above.