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Nissan's Ghosn crisis

Ghosn tells Renault he is resigning as CEO and chairman

Auto executive's decision comes after bail denied again in Japan

Renault Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn delivers a speech during a presentation of a new model at the company's research center, the Technocentre, in Guyancourt, near Paris in February 2016.   © Reuters

PARIS -- Carlos Ghosn told Renault on Wednesday he intends to resign as chairman and CEO of the French automaker, Nikkei has learned, now that his detention in Japan has ruled out a quick return to France.

Ghosn apparently chose to step down on his own as Renault and the French government, the company's top shareholder, move to install new leadership. The automaker is expected to accept his resignation at a board meeting Thursday.

Interim chief Thierry Bollore is expected to be named Renault's next CEO, while Jean-Dominique Senard, the chief executive of tiremaker Michelin, is poised to become chairman.

Renault alliance partners Nissan Motor and Mitsubishi Motors both dismissed Ghosn as chairman after his arrest in Japan in November on allegations of financial misconduct.

Calls for Ghosn's removal have grown at Renault, which stopped short of dismissing him, insisting he is innocent until proven guilty. Ghosn has denied the charges against him.

His detention has dragged on and appears likely to last even longer after he was denied bail for a second time Tuesday.

"We're asking for a new long-term leadership," Bruno Le Maire, the French finance minister, said this month.

The case has worsened relations between Nissan and Renault, which owns 43.4% of its Japanese partner. Renault approached Nissan twice after Ghosn's arrest about calling a shareholders meeting to appoint a new chairman at the Japanese automaker, but was rebuffed both times.

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