Renault, Nissan spar over governance reforms as tie-up strains worsen

Lloyd Doyle
June 11, 2019

The minister said it would be up to the bosses of Renault and Nissan to decide how to push the alliance forward as ties between the two firms have been strained after Ghosn's shock arrest.

"Following extensive deliberation, the special committee delivered a series of recommendations".

But Renault and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles are looking for ways to breathe new life into their moribund merger and secure Nissan's approval, Reuters reported on Monday.

In an unusally public display of anger, Hiroto Saikawa, 65, Nissan's chief executive, denounced Renault's stance as "most regrettable".

On Monday, Nissan pointed out that its board, which includes Senard and other Renault executives, voted unanimously in favor of the three committee system, adding that it would keep advocating for the need for the change in governance.

In the second statement in just as many weeks, Nissan CEO takes on the French, this time saying he "finds Renault's new stance on this matter most regrettable".

While Renault understands Nissan's desire to improve its governance, the so-called three board level committees system "should not serve as a tool directed or used against Nissan's largest shareholder", the letter said.

Renault has signaled it will block reforms launched by Nissan in the wake of the Carlos Ghosn scandal unless it is granted representation on new board committees, a source close to the French auto maker has told Reuters.

France is ready to consider paring back its 15-percent stake in Renault in the interests of consolidating the automaker's alliance with Japanese partner Nissan, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said Saturday. Nissan is, therefore, poised to urge Renault to significantly cut the 43.4% stake, two people told Reuters.

"As now proposed, this does not seem to be the case".

"It's a hard relationship, Nissan and Renault", said Koji Endo, an analyst at SBI Securities Co.

Renault had yet to receive specific details on the proposed composition of each of the committees, another source with knowledge of the issue told Reuters.

But such a move would raise concerns about a possible conflict of interest, as it would give Renault a say in Nissan salaries and corporate governance, the Nissan source said.

On May 27, FCA stunned the auto world with a proposed "merger of equals" with Renault that would - together with Renault's Japanese partners Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors - create a vehicle giant spanning the globe. "If there are differences of opinion, then I'd like for those to be discussed", he told Japan's Jiji news agency.

FILE PHOTO: Renault Chairman Jean-Dominique Senard attends a Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi chiefs' joint news conference in Yokohama, Japan, March 12, 2019.

"Shockingly, for several months, elements of this "audit" have been circulating in the media without Mr. Ghosn ever receiving it", they said.

The latest crisis erupted a week ago, when Renault's merger talks with Fiat fell apart after Nissan abstained two of its board votes for further negotiation, prompting the French state to pause discussions.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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