Nissan, Renault break up almighty chairmanship in wake of Ghosn's ouster

Carlos Ghosn

The court's decision came as French automaker Renault SA, Nissan's top shareholder, confirmed it was in talks with Nissan Motor and Mitsubishi Motors about setting up a new alliance body to improve their collaboration.

Renault CEO Thierry Bollore, Renault Chairman Jean-Dominique Senard, Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa, Mitsubishi Motors Chairman and CEO Osamu Masuko attend a joint news conference in Yokohama, Japan, March 12, 2019. Currently, the alliance is managed by a Nissan-Renault venture and a Nissan-Mitsubishi Motors venture.

Ghosn, who denies the allegations against him, believes he bears responsibility for attending the board meeting as a director, according to the lawyers.

"We are fostering a new start of the alliance".

One of the world's best-known auto executives, Ghosn was sacked as chairman of Nissan, Renault and Mitsubishi, and resigned as chief executive of Renault after his arrest.

Renault began sifting through Ghosn's years at the helm after his shock arrest in Tokyo last November on charges of under-reporting millions of dollars in salary as head of Nissan, Renault's alliance partner.

"Anyone who knows my father knows that is not true", they said, noting that the former Nissan chairman was awarded the Blue Ribbon Medal by Emperor Akihito, making him the first non-Japanese businessman to receive the accolade.

In a complicated management structure, Renault - itself 15-percent held by the French state - owns a 43-percent stake in Nissan.

The former chairman of the alliance, Carlos Ghosn, was barred from attending Tuesday's meeting.

His downfall was plotted due to "opposition and anxiety" over the plan to bring Nissan and Renault closer together, Ghosn alleged.

Asked whether Ghosn was really planning such a merger, Senard said he was not able to confirm that and added that a merger, or shareholding power balance, "is not the point of today". "And the third.is to respect people and consider them innocent as long as it has not been proven differently".

If his request to attend the board meeting 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.

He faces three charges of financial misconduct over allegations he under-reported his compensation and sought to transfer personal losses to Nissan's books.

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.

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