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Nissan and Renault retool alliance as ‘equals’

The Yomiuri Shimbun

Renault SA Chairman Jean-Dominique Senard, second from left, and Nissan Motor Co. President and CEO Hiroto Saikawa, second from right, attend a press conference in Yokohama on Tuesday.

Reuters YOKOHAMA (Reuters) — Nissan Motor and France’s Renault on Tuesday retooled the board structure of the world’s largest car-making alliance, putting themselves as equals after the ouster of former boss Carlos Ghosn.

They said the chairman of Renault would serve as the chairman of the alliance but —in a critical sign of the rebalancing — not as chairman of Nissan. It was not immediately clear who would take that job, vacant since Ghosn was arrested in November.

The ouster of Ghosn, one of the world’s most celebrated executives for his rescue of Nissan from near-bankruptcy in 1999, had caused much soul-searching about the future of the alliance. Nissan has said the executive wielded far too much power, creating a lack of oversight and corporate governance.

“This is an equal partnership,” Nissan Chief Executive Hiroto Saikawa told a news conference.

But the companies, including junior partner Mitsubishi Motors said there would be no change to their cross-shareholding agreements. The so-called “RAMA” alliance agreement that has bound them together so far remains intact.

Separately, a Tokyo court on Monday rejected Ghosn’s request to attend Nissan’s board meeting, denying a seat at the table to the executive who drove the alliance with Renault for two decades.

Released on a $9 million bail last week after spending more than 100 days in a Tokyo detention center, Ghosn faces charges of under-reporting his salary at Nissan by about $82 million over nearly a decade — charges he has called “meritless.”

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