Renault plans new alliance body with Nissan and Mitsubishi

Renault plans new alliance body with Nissan and Mitsubishi

Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors plan to form a single board that will oversee their alliance’s governance and operations, as the automakers try to streamline their decision making following the arrest of Carlos Ghosn.

In a statement on Monday, Renault said the new body will have no impact on the existence of the RAMA (Restated Alliance Master Agreement) and the alliance’s cross-shareholding structure.

The group will replace two separate Amsterdam-based alliance entities, Renault-Nissan BV and Nissan-Mitsubishi BV, people familiar with the matter said, asking not to be identified because the information is not yet public.

Nissan’s board plan to meet to discuss the matter as soon as Tuesday and an announcement could be made shortly after, the people said.

Renault Chairman Jean-Dominique Senard will probably chair the new committee, one of the people said.

The plan is aimed at fostering more balanced decision-making represented by Senard, Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa and Mitsubishi Motors CEO Osamu Masuko.

The current structure is seen as outdated and obscure in its functions, with the automaker’s own investigations having found that former Chairman Ghosn funneled money from the Dutch units. Ghosn has said the claims of improper payments were a “distortion of reality.”

Board face-off stopped

A Tokyo court on Monday rejected Ghosn’s request to attend Nissan’s board meeting on Tuesday, stopping what would have been a dramatic face-off between Ghosn and the colleagues he has accused of fomenting a coup. Some Nissan executives had been unhappy with Ghosn’s push for a deeper tie-up with Renault, including possibly a full merger.

Ghosn had applied to the Tokyo District Court for permission to attend Tuesday’s board meeting. If his request had been approved, he would have been expected to dial into the meeting via teleconference, given the conditions of his bail, according to a person familiar with Nissan’s thinking.

Ghosn’s attorneys may appeal the court decision, his lead lawyer, Junichiro Hironaka, said, adding that Nissan had strongly opposed his attendance. “Nissan’s strong opposition to Ghosn’s attendance is very regrettable,” Hironaka said.

Ghosn was released last week on a $9 million bail after more than 100 days in detention. He is awaiting trial for alleged financial misconduct. Ghosn faces charges of under-reporting his salary at Nissan by about $82 million over nearly a decade, charges he has called “meritless.”

Bloomberg and Reuters contributed to this report

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