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

Source: Xinhua| 2019-03-12 20:58:46|Editor: Shi Yinglun
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TOKYO, March 12 (Xinhua) -- Nissan Motor Co., Renault SA and Mitsubishi Motors Corp. announced Tuesday that they will be reorganizing their partnership and make a new internal body to oversee their alliance following the arrest of ex-chairman Carlos Ghosn for financial misconduct.

At a press conference at Nissan's headquarters in Yokohama, the three automakers said a four-member board will be at the helm of overseeing the newly-structured alliance, to be chaired by Renault chief Jean-Dominique Senard.

The four-member board will comprise Senard, Nissan President and CEO Hiroto Saikawa, Mitsubishi Motors Chairman and CEO Osamu Masuko and Renault CEO Thierry Bollore, as stated by the four in their first joint press conference Tuesday.

The new body will purportedly allow the alliance to cooperate more efficiently, effectively and on a consensual basis, Senard said, adding that the shift in leadership structure would allow the alliance to better respond to changes in the automotive industry, such as the growing popularity of electric vehicles.

Senard said he is not seeking to become Nissan's chairman and fill the vacuum left by Ghosn, who was ousted following his arrest in November.

Senard also said Ghosn should be considered innocent until proven guilty.

Ghosn is facing two charges of under-reporting his remuneration in Nissan's securities reports and another allegation of aggravated breach of trust.

If found guilty, Ghosn, widely recognized as the brains and brawn behind Nissan's rapid turnaround from near bankruptcy since 1999, could be facing up to 15 years in jail.

He was granted bail last week at the third time of asking, with bail set at 1 billion yen (9 million U.S. dollars) and released under the provisos that he will not leave Japan and remain under limited video surveillance at the entrance to his residence.

He is also only allowed restricted access to the use of mobile phones and computers under his bail agreement.

Ghosn, who spent 108 days incarcerated at the Tokyo Detention House since his arrest in November, has resolutely maintained his innocence and on Monday requested to be allowed to attend Nissan's board meeting scheduled for Tuesday.

His request and subsequent appeal were both rejected by the Tokyo District Court as part of his bail agreement prohibits him from contacting with Nissan executives or others potentially involved in the case against him.

Although removed from his post at Nissan following his arrest on Nov. 19 last year, 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, for its part, is planning to oust Ghosn as a board member at an extraordinary shareholders' meeting slated to be held on April 8.

After his arrest, Ghosn was dismissed as chairman of Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors Corp.

He was also replaced as chairman of Renault SA in the three-way alliance he created after he tendered his resignation while in detention in Tokyo.

Under the new body unveiled Tuesday, the four-member board said the fundamental ownership structure, however, would remain the same.

Currently, Renault owns a 43.4 percent stake in Nissan, with Nissan in turn holding a 15 percent stake in its French partner.

Nissan has no voting rights as far as Renault is concerned. It also owns a 34-percent stake in Mitsubishi Motors Corp.

Separately on Tuesday, legal representatives for Ghosn said there were no plans for the ex-auto tycoon to hold a highly-anticipated press conference this week.