A ship needs a captain, preferably uncuffed.
French carmaker Renault took a bold & admirable stance when it stood by legendary boss Carlos Ghosn, despite the multinational executive facing a slew of charges including failure to disclose compensation and criminal breach of trust. As Ghosn rubbished those claims, Renault stayed by his side, while Alliance partners Mitsubishi & Nissan disposed of Ghosn like yesterday’s garbage. But it seems that everyone has a breaking point and in light of a trial that may be as far as 6-months away, Renault has found theirs.
In a move said to be instigated by the French government (a 15% stakeholder in Renault), the company is now moving to find one or multiple replacements to fill their Ghosn-shaped hole in the hierarchy. The reason is said to be the lack of sight at the helm – the company simply cannot afford to wait until Ghosn’s protracted trial & detention are over and done with before it returns earnestly to business at hand.
French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire spoke to French news outlet LCI on the matter, saying that it was time that new blood was fielded for Renault.
“We want a meeting of the Renault executive board in the next few days. We’re asking for a new long-term leadership.” – Mr. Bruno Le Maire, Economy Minister, French Republic
When Ghosn attended court earlier this month, his first public appearance since he was arrested at Haneda Airport in November, Ghosn expressed deep love for the Japanese company he’d helmed for nearly two decades. He also rubbished the charges against him.
“I have always acted with integrity and have never been accused of any wrongdoing in my several-decade professional career. I have been wrongly accused, and unfairly detained based on meritless & unsubstantiated accusations. I have dedicated two decades of my life to reviving Nissan and building the Alliance. I worked toward these goals day and night, on the earth and in the air, standing shoulder to shoulder with hardworking Nissan employees across the globe. We transformed Nissan. These accomplishments, secured alongside the peerless team of Nissan employees worldwide, are the greatest joy of my life, next to my family.” – Carlos Ghosn, Former Chairman, Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance
The Alliance must move with great caution going forwards, as the power vacuum left by Ghosn is not one easily filled. His management style, farsighted strategy, and passionate drive to better the three automakers under his charge have been rewarding for the Alliance, going from ¥2-trillion debt to ¥1.8-trillion profit in just 7-years, and growing from 2.5-million loss-incurring cars in 1999 to 5.8-million profitable cars in 2016. We can only wait and see.