Hiroto Saikawa, Nissan CEO admits differences with Renault over reforms

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Tokyo, June 13 (IANS) Nissan Motor’s chief executive Hiroto Saikawa on Thursday said his company had differences of opinion with Renault over of the Japanese carmaker’s corporate reform plans and the two sides were discussing the issue.

Saikawa’s remarks come amid the latest round of friction in the alliance between the two companies and another Japanese firm, Mitsubishi, after the situation was discussed at the Renault general shareholders’ meeting in Paris on Wednesday, Efe news reported.

At the meeting, Renault Chairman Jean-Dominique Senard explained the French firm’s decision to abstain from voting over an important corporate reform in the Japanese company set to take place on June 25. Renault owns 43.4 per cent of Nissan stocks.

The reform seeks to generate a corporate model with checks and balances to ensure a strong management at Nissan.

Senard said Renault decided to back out after learning that according to the plan, Renault CEO Thierry Bollore would not be included in the governing committee of Nissan. It would be enough to add Bollore to the committee to get a green light from the French company, he added.

Saikawa said the two companies had slightly different opinions over nominations to the committee and told Japanese media they were discussing the matter.

On Monday, the Japanese carmaker said Renault’s decision to not to back reforms was “most regrettable”. The reform plan was prepared over many months after Carlos Ghosn stepped down as the CEO due to his arrest on charges of financial misconduct.

The new board reforms were recommended by an independent committee, tasked with reviewing in depth the structures of the company after complaints by Japanese directors over concentration of power in the hands of Ghosn when he headed the company.

The new model seeks to create three governing committees to oversee corporate appointments, directors’ salaries and internal audits to prevent the apparent internal chaos attributed to Ghosn’s leadership.

Ghosn’s downfall brought out differences between the two companies over the future of the alliance and the power-sharing within it.

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