Carlos Ghosn has been ousted after nearly two decades at the helm of Japanese carmaker Nissan, following allegations of financial misconduct.
He has been accused by Nissan of under-reporting his salary and using company assets for personal use.
But some see it as part of the firm’s attempt to rebalance power in its alliance with Renault and Mitsubishi, which Mr Ghosn also chairs.
The 64-year-old was the architect of the tie-up between the three firms.
The board also voted to remove senior executive Greg Kelly.
Nissan’s board issued a statement which said the decision to dismiss the two men was unanimous. The board’s mission was “to minimise the potential impact and confusion on the day-to-day cooperation among the Alliance partners”, it added.
Mr Ghosn and Mr Kelly remain in custody in Tokyo.