Renault, Nissan, Mitsubishi Relaunch Alliance

March 12, 2019 at 12:18 PM

Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors have restructured the management of their alliance, proclaiming a “new start” to ease tensions about a possible merger.

The new oversight panel shares power that previously was held solely by Carlos Ghosn, who formed the alliance 20 years ago. He was chairman of all three carmakers and the previous entities that coordinated the partnership until being indicted in Japan on charges of financial wrongdoing at Nissan.

The new alliance management group consists of the CEOs of the three car companies: Hiroto Saikawa at Nissan, Thierry Bollore at Renault and Osamu Masuko at Mitsubishi. The group will be chaired by Jean-Dominique Senard, who was named in January to replace Ghosn as Renault’s chairman.

The new leadership panel has no effect on the operation of the alliance or the equity holdings among the partners. Renault owns 43% of Nissan. Nissan holds a 15% nonvoting stake in Renault and a controlling 34% share in Mitsubishi Motors.

Separately, Renault has dropped a demand that Senard also succeed Ghosn as chairman of Nissan. But he may eventually be named vice chairman, pending management reforms underway at the Japanese company.

Renault’s effort to pursue a merger with Nissan have been shelved, thus removing a major source of friction between the carmakers. Renault and the French government, which owns a 15% stake in the company, had been pushing to fully combine the two carmakers.

Saikawa, who vehemently opposed such a merger, proclaims the new oversight structure a “true partnership on equal footing.” Senard underscored the notion, emphasizing that the alliance will strive to be “totally respectful”