Nissan, Renault, Mitsubishi to reorganize alliance after Ghosn's removal

Daniel Fowler
March 15, 2019

Addressing multiple sources with direct knowledge regarding the matter, the Japanese broadcaster had reported that the Chief Executives of all three automakers, Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa, Mitsubishi Chair Osamu Masuko and Renault Chairman Jean-Dominique Senard had been preparing to announce the plan of a joint meeting soon.

The announcement at a press conference in Yokohama, where Nissan is based, was created to ease the tensions that have flared within the alliance since the arrest of Carlos Ghosn.

Ghosn was released on a $9 million bail only last week after more than 100 days in detention.

The automaker has said it intends to appoint a new chairman based on proposals by the committee.

Former Alliance Chairman Carlos Ghosn was barred from attending the board meeting by a Tokyo judge.

Nissan is now more profitable than Renault.

Nissan senior vice president for human resources Arun Bajaj left the firm on 11 March, the company said today.

Senard also said Ghosn should be considered innocent until proven guilty. He faces charges of under-reporting his salary at the Japanese carmaker by about $82m over almost a decade - charges he has called "meritless".

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Nissan, for its part, is planning to oust Ghosn as a board member at an extraordinary shareholders' meeting slated to be held on April 8.

Also on the shareholders' agenda is the dismissal of Greg Kelly, a director who was arrested with Ghosn and accused of working with Ghosn in the alleged misconduct.

Although removed from his post at Nissan following his arrest on November 19 a year ago, Ghosn still holds his seat on the automaker's board as a director and he believes it is his duty to attend the board meeting.

Nissan has not yet named a new chairman to replace Ghosn.

The move gave the alliance time to reformulate the structure of its board of directors without having to undo the alliance - for now anyway. It established in its own investigation that a 2016 Renault sponsorship deal with the Chateau de Versailles outside Paris included a 50,000 euro ($56,000) personal benefit to Ghosn, and said it would alert prosecutors.

In the wake of the scandal, Renault began its own review of payments to Ghosn.

His dramatic arrest and lengthy detention exposed tensions between Nissan and its leading shareholder, Renault, complicating the outlook for a partnership that is the world's largest maker of automobiles, excluding heavy trucks. Renault, which is smaller than Nissan, bought 43% of the Japanese giant before the 1999 rescue.

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