Renault acting deputy CEO Thierry Bollore. Picture: REUTERS/CHRISTIAN HARTMANN
Renault acting deputy CEO Thierry Bollore. Picture: REUTERS/CHRISTIAN HARTMANN

 French carmaker Renault said on Tuesday that its board would meet on Thursday to name a replacement for its boss Carlos Ghosn, held in custody in Japan on allegations of  financial misconduct.

Informed sources said  the company  would put forward Thierry Bollore to replace Ghosn as CE and Michelin chief Jean-Dominique Senard as board chair. Ghosn holds both roles.

Renault, part of a powerful alliance with Japanese carmakers Nissan and Mitsubishi, declined to comment on Ghosn’s replacement, beyond confirming Thursday’s board meeting.

A trade union source said the meeting would take place at 9am GMT (11am SA time) on Thursday.

Ghosn has been stripped of his positions as chair of Nissan and Mitsubishi.

The French government, Renault’s biggest shareholder with a stake of more than 15%, wants the company to appoint a new leader.

Finance minister Bruno Le Maire last week demanded a board meeting “in coming days” to name Ghosn’s successor.

The Franco-Lebanese-Brazilian businessman, who was arrested on November 19, is set to remain behind bars for the foreseeable future after a Tokyo court again denied him bail on Tuesday.

Prosecutors claim he understated his income in official statements to Nissan shareholders from 2010 to 2015 to the tune of some ¥5bn ($46m), evidently to avoid accusations that he was overpaid.

A similar charge is that he continued to do this from 2015 to  2018, underreporting his income by ¥4bn more.

He also faces a complex charge of seeking to shift personal investment losses to Nissan’s books and transferring company funds to a Saudi contact, who allegedly stumped up collateral for him.

Bollore, who has been running Renault in the wake of Ghosn’s stunning arrest, was named deputy CEO a day after Ghosn was taken into custody.

The 55-year-old has spent his entire career in the car industry, much of it in Asia.

This is seen at Renault as valuable experience in terms of smoothing fraught relations with its Japanese partners and developing business in China.

Senard, 66, has worked at tyre giant Michelin since 2005 and was the first person outside the family  to head the historic group. He was due to hand over the CEO role to his deputy in May.

AFP