Carlos Ghosn has been ousted after 19 years at the helm of Nissan, following allegations of financial misconduct, Japanese media are reporting.
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 re-balance 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, the Nikkei newspaper reported.
Nissan’s board meeting, ended late on Thursday, without a formal announcement.
Mr Ghosn and Mr Kelly remain in custody in Tokyo.