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Opinion

Ghosn shock should spur corporate governance reform

Japanese government can use the scandal to enforce tougher rules

| Japan
Carlos Ghosn's multiple roles including chairman and CEO at Nissan and Renault created potential conflicts of interest.   © Reuters

The tremors are still being felt from the recent arrest of Carlos Ghosn, chairman of Groupe Renault, Nissan Motor and Mitsubishi Motors, at Japan's Haneda Airport. Much remains unclear about the legal case against him, but the failures of corporate governance at both Nissan and Renault are glaring. If the right steps are taken to improve governance structures in Japan and elsewhere, there might yet be a positive outcome from this sorry business.

Ghosn is one of the world's most prominent businessmen and a regular at the World Economic Forum's annual gathering at Davos. He made his name by restructuring Nissan, which had been on the verge of bankruptcy in the late 1990s. At the time the Japanese banking system was lurching from crisis to crisis, so the capital injection by Renault, itself just emerging from full state control, came as manna from heaven for the beleaguered Japanese carmaker.

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