The arrest of Carlos Ghosn, one of the most powerful executives in the automobile industry, sends a clear message to all top business leaders: just do the right thing.

Time will tell if Mr Ghosn is found guilty of the charge for which he has been arrested by prosecutors in Japan – financial misconduct. But already, Nissan, where he is chairman, has signalled that he will be ousted, while in France, there have been calls for him to stand down as chairman and chief executive of Renault. In his absence, interim leaders have been appointed. His future at a third carmaker, Mitsubishi, where he is also chairman, remains in doubt.

In a fast-moving story, there is swirling talk that his arrest comes in the wake of high-level disagreements over controversial plans to secure the merger of Nissan and Renault.