Various theories have been put forward about what was behind the arrest of Nissan Motor Co. Chairman Carlos Ghosn, ranging from back-stabbing by disgruntled Japanese executives to desperation over business control.

But officials at the automaker said they were simply fed up with Ghosn’s lavish style, personality and the various steps he had taken over the years.

The French business newspaper Les Echos defended Ghosn’s record as a top executive, describing his arrest as a betrayal on the part of Hiroto Saikawa, the Nissan president.

Ghosn’s arrest on Nov. 19 by Tokyo prosecutors has also been likened to a “palace coup.”

One Nissan executive rejected such descriptions by the foreign media.

“Rather than a coup d’etat, this shows we had reached the limits of putting up with him,” the executive said. “While I believe Ghosn was an outstanding corporate manager, I felt he left much to be desired as a human being. We cannot talk about him while ignoring that aspect.”

Some Nissan employees point to a sculpture displayed at the automaker’s headquarters in Yokohama as symbolizing the wrong approach taken by Ghosn.

The 5-meter-tall artwork, titled “Wheel of Innovation,” consists of five interconnected stainless steel disks. It was created by an artist living in Lebanon who knows Ghosn.

Sources said the cost of creating and installing the sculpture was about 100 million yen ($890,000).

At the unveiling ceremony held in June 2017, Ghosn said the sculpture symbolizes the automaker’s resurgence as a global force.

However, some Nissan employees feel the sculpture was ordered as a monument to Ghosn himself for his efforts in turning around the automaker's fortunes after taking over as chief operating officer in 1999.

“Nissan’s history does not start from 1999,” a Nissan executive said. “It is a company that has been in existence since 1933. Having that sculpture just isn’t right.”

Japanese executives at Nissan also wanted to correct what they considered an unequal relationship between Nissan and Renault SA, according to company sources.

In recent years, Nissan’s sales and profits have exceeded those of Renault. But the Japanese automaker has only a 15-percent stake and no voting rights in Renault, and, therefore, little say in the operations of the French company.

In contrast, Renault holds a 43-percent stake in Nissan--and with voting rights.

To make matters more unpleasant for Japanese executives, Ghosn was apparently trying to maneuver a merger between Renault and Nissan that would have given even greater control to the French automaker.

At a board meeting in September, Ghosn proposed pushing forward discussions that would deepen the alliance not only between Nissan and Renault, but also with Mitsubishi Motors Corp., which joined the grouping in 2016.

One Nissan source said Ghosn’s proposal was considered the first move toward a merger of Nissan and Renault.