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The Brazilian Brazilian-Brazilian leader has maintained a superior presence with Allianz. Picture credits: BLOOMBERG

PARIS – The arrest of Carlos Ghosn in Japan for alleged deficiency in compensation and personal use of corporate assets is out of the blue and threatens to remove the leader of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance amid unprecedented changes in the industry.

Ghosn, 64, is the architect of the two-decade-old alliance and has an almost iconic following in Japan. He currently oversees the merger, which involves complex cross-holdings. While continuing to chair and CEO Renault, Nissan confirmed on Monday that its board of directors will be convened on Thursday to dismiss him. Mitsubishi said his board would do the same.

The French-Brazilian chief of global trotting has maintained a superior presence, even after the French state demanded that he give up some power in planning succession planning, which led him to abandon his role as CEO of Nissan and Thierry Bollore as chief Operating Officer at Renault installed.

"The alliance partnership will not be affected by this event," said Hiroto Saikawa, CEO of Nissan, at a press conference. The boards of member companies should work together more closely.

The move from Ghosn would rob the manufacturer of an experienced leader and, after a series of industry surprises, bring new CEOs, Volkswagen AG, the VW Audi brand, Daimler AG and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. Ghosn's stature is due to the fact that he saved Nissan from collapse almost two decades ago and led the global expansion of its brands and its production. In mass-market electric cars, it moved faster than the competition, making the Nissan Leaf the best-selling battery-powered vehicle.

Ghosn also helped drive Renault through the global financial crisis and received help from the largest shareholder of the automaker, the French state. In the past year, the total sales of the three companies reached 10.6 million vehicles and was thus almost at the level of the worldwide sales leader Volkswagen.

Renault-Nissan, however, like the rest of the sector, faces uncertainty about a wave of electric models designed to keep up with regulation, while the industry's business model for manufacturing and selling cars is more traditional Private vehicle ownership deviates.

Earlier this year, Ghosn said he was ready to lead the alliance through these shifts and sought technology partners including Uber Technologies Inc., Amazon.com Inc. and Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd.

In September, he stunned investors and rivals with a technology partnership with Google. The decision came when most automakers tried to keep the Internet out of their dashboards because they feared it would be valuable to gather data on the drivers' habits and whereabouts

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