Embattled businessman Carlos Ghosn has chosen to resign from the chairman and CEO roles at French auto giant Renault.
The news was first announced by French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire in an interview with Bloomberg held on Thursday at the The World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, and later confirmed by Renault.
"Carlos Ghosn just resigned last night," Le Maire said. "Now it's time to define and put a new governance in place."
Long-time Michelin exec Jean-Dominique Senard has been named as Renault's new chairman, while Thierry Bolloré has been given the CEO role.
Even though he is awaiting trial in a Japanese prison for charges relating to financial misconduct at Renault alliance partner Nissan, Renault had so far chosen to keep Ghosn on board until all information on his alleged misconduct could be assessed. Ghosn also served as chairman of Nissan and another alliance partner, Mitsubishi, but was fired from both firms shortly after his arrest on November 19, 2018.
According to the charges against him, Ghosn understated his earnings at Nissan from 2011 to 2015 by half in the automaker's securities filings: 4.99 billion yen ($44.3 million) compared with 9.86 billion yen ($88.4 million), including bonuses. He's also been accused of transferring personal trading losses to Nissan's books.
The matter first came to light based on a whistle blower's report at Nissan that was followed up by an internal investigation. Ghosn has so far denied all charges but if convicted could face years in prison.
Ghosn was arrested together with long-time aide Greg Kelly, who was released on bail last month. Kelly's wife Dee has said that her husband has been “wrongly accused as part of a power grab” at Nissan. It's rumored senior Nissan executives were against Ghosn's push for a full merger of Nissan with Renault.