Nissan resists having same chairman as Renault

TOKYO • Nissan Motor Co is unwilling to support an arrangement with its alliance partner Renault SA that would place the same person in the chairman’s role at both companies, as was the case under jailed former leader Carlos Ghosn, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The Japanese company would resist appointing new Renault chairman Jean-Dominique Senard (picture) as its own chairman as well, said the person, who asked not to be named discussing private matters. Nissan’s board plans to await a governance committee report before taking a final decision, the person said.

It’s the strongest sign yet of the challenges facing the Franco-Japanese partnership as the sides try to forge a fresh path without Ghosn, who enforced a common vision over two decades through his stature and personality. Nissan is said to seek a review of the lopsided power structure, and its CEO Hiroto Saikawa has criticised Ghosn for having too much authority and making decisions that weren’t in the best interest of the Japanese company.

“Discussions on this topic will take place after the special committee for improving governance submits its recommendations, and after Senard has officially joined Nissan’s board,” Nissan said in a statement, declining further comment. Renault didn’t respond to requests for comment.

While Senard’s first contacts with Saikawa went well, Nissan opposes having him in the top role because it fears a conflict of interest, the person said. Renault has a 43% voting stake in Nissan, which has no reciprocal rights with its 15% stake in its French partner. — Bloomberg