Renault Strips Ghosn Loyalist of Executive Role


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.

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

"In response to latest press reports, Renault confirms that it is in discussions with its Alliance partners Nissan Motor and Mitsubishi Motor regarding the establishment of a new Alliance body in order to enhance and ensure further collaboration", Renault stated.

The company will wait on the recommendations from its special committee on improving governance before nominating a chairman.

"The proposed arrangement will have no effect on the existence of the RAMA (Restated Alliance Master Agreement), and the cross-shareholding structure, that will both remain in place", Renault added.

Senard told reporters that Ghosn is presumed innocent until proven otherwise. He was released on 1 billion yen ($8.9 million) bail last week. He also said he would not be chairman at Nissan but vice chairman. He faces charges of under-reporting his salary at Nissan by about $82 million over almost a decade - charges he has called "meritless".

Ghosn will not hold a highly anticipated news conference until next week at the earliest and is not planning to attend Nissan's shareholder meeting next month, his lawyer said.

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Senard said he would not seek to be chairman of Nissan, but believed he was a "natural candidate" to be vice-chairman.

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. Shareholders' approval is needed to remove him from the board.

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.

In the wake of the scandal, Renault began its own review of payments to Ghosn. He has been in the Tokyo Detention House since his arrest.

Some at Nissan had been unhappy with Ghosn's push for a deeper tie-up with Renault, which was seen as possibly including a full merger.

Ghosn owns more than 3 million Nissan shares, or somewhat less than 0.1 percent of total shares, according to the most recent disclosure.