Nissan Ponders Outside Non-Chairman to Head Board

March 13, 2019 at 5:16 PM

Nissan Motor Co. plans to leave its chairmanship position open for now but use a highly regarded Japanese executive to preside over director meetings.

The Nikkei says Nissan is looking at Sadayuki Sakakibara for the role. He is the former president of Toray Industries Inc., a Tokyo-based fibers, chemicals and plastics supplier. He also is past chair of the Japan Business Federation, the country’s most important business lobby.

Sakakibara already heads a governance reform committee created by Nissan soon after the arrest of Chairman Carlos Ghosn in mid-November. Critics say Ghosn ran board meetings with an iron hand, keeping their length short and discussions brief, which led to his alleged financial improprieties.

Renault SA, which owns 43% of Nissan, had demanded that its new chairman, Jean-Dominique Senard, also head the Japanese company. Ghosn had been chair of both companies, and Nissan balked at reconcentrating power in one executive.

Yesterday Senard, who has taken a seat on the Nissan board, told reporters he doesn’t seek the chairmanship as well. Earlier in the day, Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi announced a new management structure to oversee their alliance. The scheme will replace Ghosn’s reign with a consensus-based panel consisting of Senard and the CEOs of the three carmakers.