Days after Carlos Ghosn was finally released from custody in Japan, the chief executives of Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi met in Yokohama, Japan this week to discuss the way forward for the alliance between the three automotive companies. Out of that meeting came the announcement today that the three entities intend to create a new board that will include the CEOs of each company, as well as Renault’s chief executive.
Under the agreement, Renault SA’s chairman, Jean-Dominique Senard, will be chairman of the new alliance board. The rest of the board will include Renault’s chief executive, Thierry Bollore, Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa and Osamu Masuko, CEO of Mitsubishi Motors Corp. The board will meet once a month in Paris or Tokyo to plan strategies and oversee current and future projects to do with the Alliance.
Although he wasn’t present at the meeting, Carlos Ghosn was still very much a factor in the minds of those who were. The executive is still on Nissan’s eight-person board of directors, and in fact he had requested permission from the Tokyo District Court to attend the Yokohama meeting, but was refused.
Senard declined to comment on whether Ghosn, who also remains on Renault’s board, will be allowed to attend its meetings in the future. At the moment, Ghosn, who is awaiting trial, is not authorized to leave Japan. He has been charged with falsifying financial reports by under-reporting his income and with breach of trust. He denies the charges.
Questions regarding the future of the Alliance and the balance of power between Renault and Nissan had come to the surface since Carlos Ghosn’s arrest. Renault owns 43% of Nissan, which in turn owns 15% of Renault and also owns 34% of Mitsubishi Motors.
Nissan has not filled the chairman position left vacant by Ghosn’s departure. The executive is widely credited with turning the Japanese automaker around, pulling it back up from near-bankruptcy 20 years ago after being sent to head the company by Renault.