How Renault boss Carlos Ghosn ran over shareholders

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Last Friday, the board of French carmaker Renault insisted it would pay chief executive Carlos Ghosn a package of 7.2 million euros for his services in 2015, despite a revolt by shareholders who disapproved of the deal which economy minister Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday denounced as “excessive”. In this opinion article, Mediapart’s economic affairs correspondent Martine Orange argues that Ghosn, who is also paid a yearly 8 million euros as head of Nissan, is typical of a new caste of cynical oligarchs who are unaccountable to anyone, even to the very shareholders who first launched them on a path of greed.

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Renault chief executive Carlos Ghosn is, it would appear, a man above everything, already beyond criticism and self-questioning, and now above the opinions of his shareholders. While he hasn’t gone quite so far as Lloyd Blankfein, the CEO of US bank Goldman Sachs who infamously pronounced in 2009 that he was doing “God’s work”, Ghosn’s choices and behaviour suggest that he is not far from sharing the same view. After all, a talent as immense as his cannot reasonably be called to account, and much less so submit its remuneration to review by the carmaker’s annual shareholders’ meeting.