Published: Tue, March 12, 2019
Markets | By Otis Pena

A 'new start' for Renault, Nissan, Mitsubishi alliance

A 'new start' for Renault, Nissan, Mitsubishi alliance

The removal of Ghosn, credited for rescuing Nissan from near-bankruptcy in 1999, had caused much uncertainty about the future of the alliance and some speculation the partnership could even unravel.

This structure will replace the current organisation that brings together Nissan and Renault, which is headquartered in Amsterdam.

Asked about Ghosn, Senard said: "I have two or three major principles in my life".

Relations between Nissan and Renault are understood to be strained following the arrest of Ghosn in November 2018 on charges of financial misconduct.

But the automakers gave no indication of any immediate change in their cross-shareholding agreement, one which has given smaller Renault SA more sway over Nissan.

Nissan, Renault and Mitsubishi plan to set up a joint board meeting structure under which Renault's new chairman, Jean-Dominique Senard, is likely to take the chair, people with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters. Nissan opposed his attendance out of concern that the meeting would not run smoothly, he told reporters in an exchange that was aired on TV.

Senard also said he would not seek to be chairman of Nissan, but instead was a "natural candidate" to be vice-chairman. He faces charges of under-reporting his salary at the Japanese automaker by about $82 million over almost a decade - charges he has called "meritless". He wished to attend the meeting, but the bail conditions require having the court's permission, so his attorney lodged the request on Friday.

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Under the terms of his bail, he would have needed the court's nod to attend.

It added that the new board will "drive the operational co-operation between Nissan, Renault and Mitsubishi Motors and look for new ways to generate value for its respective shareholders and employees" and promised to accelerate operational activities "through key focus on deliveries of strategic common projects" that will reported to the board for "quick decision making".

In an interview with AFP in January from inside his Tokyo detention centre, Ghosn himself said his arrest it was a "story of betrayal" based on resentment in the Japanese carmaker. He can only access a non-Internet connected computer at his lawyer's office.

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

Ghosn found himself embroiled in another legal battle on Monday when French prosecutors opened an inquiry into a party he threw at the sumptuous Palace of Versailles outside Paris in 2016.

Nissan appears determined to highlight new leadership without Ghosn.

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