Nissan Keeps New CEO’s Name Top Secret

The board of Nissan Motor Co. put off a decision Monday to choose the successor to ousted Chairman Carlos Ghosn, who has been arrested for alleged financial misconduct, reflecting heightened tensions with its partner Renault SA.


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Renault has urged Nissan to hold an extraordinary shareholders meeting to discuss the French automakers representation in the Japanese firm. But Nissan has rejected the call, a source close to the matter said, while CEO Hiroto Saikawa emphasized the need for beefing up its governance before seeking investors understanding.


Renault kept Ghosn as its boss for 17 years. Ghosn was indicted last week in Japan along with his close aide Greg Kelly on a charge of violating the financial instruments law by understating his remuneration in the companys reports. They have denied the allegation.


The committee, comprised of seven members and third-party experts on governance and three independent directors from Nissan, will discuss the composition of the automakers board members among other issues, Saikawa said. Renault appears to be stepping up efforts to retain its influence on the Japanese partner, particularly in the process of selecting the new board. Renault is the largest shareholder of Nissan with 43.4% ownership stake.


The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday that Thierry Bollore, deputy CEO of Renault, sent a letter dated December 14 to Nissans Saikawa urging him to call an extraordinary shareholders meeting to discuss Renaults part on Nissans nine-member board and within the ranks of its top managers.


A panel of Nissans three directors — former industry ministry official Masakazu Toyoda, racing driver Keiko Ihara and Jean-Baptiste Duzan, a former Renault executive — will remain tasked with selecting nominees for Ghosns successor as chairman among the board members.


Critics have said that Ghosn, who is credited with rescuing Nissan from near bankruptcy in the 1990s, was allowed to have extensive powers and make decisions at his own discretion over company management.


Reference: Nissan puts off naming Ghosn’s successor amid tensions with Renault


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