Renault S.A.’s CEO Carlos Ghosn passed up his bonus and rejected second-in-command Patrick Pelata’s resignation after Renault admitted that it wrongfully accused senior managers of industrial espionage. Ghosn said on TF1 television that Pelata's resignation was denied "in the interests of Renault."
Four people familiar with the issue said the carmaker’s mishandling of the espionage affair has weakened Ghosn in a tussle with the French government, its largest shareholder, over Renault’s future.
In January 2011, Ghosn said he was directly involved in the internal probe and that Renault had overwhelming evidence. Earlier in March 2011, Pelata said that he would take responsibility if it turned out the executives were innocent.
Analysts said that Ghosn's decision to keep Pelata, who has worked with the CEO since 1999, also emphasizes the company’s lack of succession planning.
Renault recently announced disciplinary action against three of its security officers and he vowed to compensate and reinstate three executives fired on suspicion of selling company secrets.
In a recent emergency board meeting, the carmaker said Ghosn, Pelata and other executives involved in the case will return 2010 bonuses and will receive no stock options in 2011. [via bloomberg]