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Renault's COO will temporarily run the automaker while it investigates allegations against CEO Carlos Ghosn 

Key Points
  • Thierry Bollore will act as deputy CEO, though Carlos Ghosn will retain his titles of chairman and CEO, for now.
  • Ghosn's formidable legacy in the auto industry is unraveling in the span of just a few days after his arrest in Tokyo.
  • Ghosn was reportedly planning to merge Renault and Nissan prior to his arrest, the Financial Times reports.
Deputy CDEO of French car maker Renault Thierry Bollore speaks during the first press day of the Geneva International Motor Show on March 6, 2018 in Geneva. 
Fabrice Coffrini  | AFP | Getty Images

French carmaker Renault has said its Chief Operating Officer Thierry Bollore will temporarily assume the day-to-day responsibilities of chairman and CEO Carlos Ghosn, who was arrested in Tokyo on Monday.

"Mr. Ghosn, temporarily incapacitated, remains Chairman and Chief Executive Officer," the company said in a statement Tuesday. "The Board of Directors resolved to appoint Mr. Thierry Bolloré on a temporary basis as Deputy Chief Executive Officer."

Bollore will lead the company and have the same powers as Ghosn would. Lead independent director Philippe Lagayette will take over Ghosn's responsibilities as chairman.

Ghosn is one of the automotive industry's biggest figures, but his formidable legacy has been rapidly unraveling in the span of a few days.

Ghosn had simultaneously served as the CEO of Renault, chairman of Japanese carmaker Nissan and the head of a strategic alliance among those automakers and another Japanese automaker, Mitsubishi. He is accused of under-reporting millions in income to Japanese authorities over the years and to have misused company funds.

Before his arrest, he was reportedly planning to merge Renault and Nissan, according to the Financial Times. The board of the Japanese automaker had fiercely opposed the move.

Speaking Tuesday on French radio, the country's finance minister, Bruno Le Maire, said Ghosn is "as a matter of fact not able to run the company" in light of the accusations.

The French government owns a 15 percent stake in Renault, which in turn owns more than 40 percent of Nissan. Nissan holds a 15 percent stake in Renault.

On Monday, Nissan's CEO spoke harshly about Ghosn's recent tenure at the automaker, saying it planned to remove him as chairman. Mitsubishi said Monday it also plans to strip him of his board seat at that company.

Bollore is a long-time automotive industry executive who spent years at tire company Michelin in positions around the world and at automotive parts supplier Faurecia before joining Renault in 2012.

Renault was not immediately available for comment to CNBC.