Nissan, Renault to rework alliance
YOKOHAMA Japan's Nissan and France's Renault said they would retool the world's top car-making alliance to put themselves on more equal footing, breaking up the all-powerful chairmanship previously occupied by ousted boss Carlos Ghosn.
The removal of Ghosn, credited for rescuing Nissan from near-bankruptcy in 1999, had caused much uncertainty about the future of the alliance and some speculation the partnership could even unravel.
The companies, together with junior ally Mitsubishi, yesterday said the chairman of Renault would serve as the head of the alliance but - in a critical sign of the rebalancing - not as chairman of Nissan.
Nissan has said that Ghosn wielded too much power, creating a lack of oversight and corporate governance.
It was not clear who would become Nissan's chairman, vacant since Ghosn was arrested in Japan in November.
But the automakers gave no indication of any immediate change in their cross-shareholding agreement, one which has given smaller Renault more sway over Nissan.
The so-called Restated Alliance Master Agreement that has bound them together so far remains intact, they said.
"We are fostering a new start of the alliance. There is nothing to do with the shareholdings and the cross-shareholdings that are still there and still in place," Renault chairman Jean-Dominique Senard said at a news conference.
"Our future lies in the efficiency of this alliance," he told reporters at Nissan's headquarters in Yokohama.
Mr Senard also said he would not seek to be chairman of Nissan but instead was a "natural candidate" to be vice-chairman.
Ghosn will not hold a highly anticipated news conference until next week at the earliest and is not planning to attend Nissan's shareholder meeting next month, his lawyer said.