Nissan and Renault Dismantle the All-Powerful Chairmanship that Gave Carlos Ghosn So Much Sway
At an alliance meeting Tuesday, Nissan, Renault and junior partner Mitsubishi decided that redistributing decision-making power was the best way to move on without embattled ex-chair Carlos Ghosn.
With Ghosn facing up to 10 years in prison on charges relating to financial misconduct, the companies felt they needed to be on more equal footing to keep their alliance alive. Ghosn had been chairman of all three automakers as well as chair of the alliance. Going forward, Renault Chairman Jean-Dominique Senard will be chairman of the alliance, while Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa, Renault CEO Thierry Bolloré and Mitsubishi CEO Osamu Masuko will join the board. The board will meet monthly in Tokyo or Paris, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Ghosn, an architect of the alliance, was ousted as chairman of Nissan and Mitsubishi shortly after his arrest in November, and stepped down as chairman and CEO of Renault in January. In Ghosn’s original plan, the chairman of the alliance would be chosen from Nissan, but now Renault will take leadership.
“We are fostering a new start of the alliance. There is nothing to do with the shareholdings and the cross-shareholdings that are still there and still in place,” Senard said, according to Reuters.
Ghosn was released on bail last Wednesday for 1 billion yen, about $8.9 million, one of the highest sureties ever levied in Japan. Ghosn had spent 108 days in jail after being arrested. He is accused of aggravated breach of trust and filing false statements to regulators regarding about $80 million in deferred income during his time as Nissan’s chairman. Prosecutors say Ghosn failed to report the full amount of his expected retirement compensation, and that he transferred a personal trading loss to Nissan. Ghosn denies the charges.
Ghosn had requested permission to join Nissan’s board meeting, which a judge denied. Ghosn will hold a highly anticipated news conference next week at the earliest, his lawyer said. He will not attend Nissan’s shareholder meeting in April.