Titans: Did Nissan enable a CEO’s excess?
Carlos Ghosn, the former chairman of automakers Nissan and Renault, struck back at his accusers this week, claiming he was the victim of a conspiracy by onetime colleagues, said Sean McLain in The Wall Street Journal. His defense came in a video made last week during his brief release from a Japanese jail. Let out on bail less than a month ago, Ghosn was arrested again in an early-morning raid “over new suspicions of financial misconduct.” Ghosn was also removed from Nissan’s board at a raucous meeting at which many shareholders questioned Nissan’s claim that “top executives were unaware of the extent of Ghosn’s alleged wrongdoing.”
This is turning into “a tale of back-stabbing politics, corporate self-interest, and excessive greed,” said Lionel Laurent in Bloomberg.com. Now, Ghosn hardly cuts a sympathetic figure, lording it atop the world’s biggest automaker. But there is “obviously a fair bit of political expediency” for Nissan “in hanging Ghosn out to dry.” The ex-chairman argues that Nissan knew all about his four private jets, Marie Antoinette–themed party, and fat bonuses. Certainly, a corporate structure that had Ghosn running three auto companies enabled it. This story is “a savage indictment of both corporate excess” and the state interests that supported Ghosn’s extravagance. ■