TOKYO — The board of Nissan voted to remove Carlos Ghosn as its chairman on Thursday, three days after he was arrested and taken into custody on allegations that he drastically underreported his income to government regulators over a period of several years.
The board’s decision removes Mr. Ghosn, one of the world’s most powerful car industry leaders, from his position at the helm of the company he led for 19 years. It is also the opening salvo in what is likely to be an extended power struggle between Nissan and its alliance partner Renault of France, which is Nissan’s largest shareholder. Renault, which owns a 43 percent stake in Nissan, has been the dominant partner in its alliance with Nissan and another Japanese automaker, Mitsubishi Motors.
So far, Renault has said that Mr. Ghosn remains chairman and chief executive even as prosecutors continue to question him in a Tokyo detention center, where he is being held.
Mr. Ghosn won’t be gone completely. Under Japanese corporate law, Mr. Ghosn cannot be removed from the board without a full shareholder vote.
The arrest on Monday came after an internal Nissan inquiry that found Mr. Ghosn had underreported his compensation to the Japanese government for several years. He has yet to be charged with a crime.
Japanese prosecutors arrested Mr. Ghosn on Monday on his corporate jet shortly after it landed at Haneda Airport in Tokyo.