See More on Facebook

Business

Nissan wary of Ghosn rekindling coup theory

Former CEO Carlos Ghosn was released this week on bail.


Written by

Updated: March 8, 2019

Nissan Motor Co. has been wary of renewed criticism toward it since its former Chairman Carlos Ghosn was released on bail Wednesday.

Ghosn is said to believe that his arrest was the result of a coup carried out by senior Nissan officials who were against his plan to integrate Nissan and French automaker Renault SA. It’s possible he will step up criticism of the Nissan leadership.

“We’ll be in a bind if public opinion is swayed,” said a senior Nissan official who couldn’t hide his wariness. The official spoke on Wednesday morning as Ghosn’s release on bail was imminent and apparently feared the coup theory would flare up again.

Ghosn had begun hinting at the integration of Nissan and Renault in the winter of 2017, another senior Nissan official said.

In February 2018, Renault decided to retain Ghosn as its chairman and chief executive officer through 2022. The French government, which is Renault’s largest shareholder, reportedly sought Renault to advance its merger talks with Nissan as a condition for accepting the reappointment. A press release on Ghosn’s reappointment described as one of the priorities: “Take decisive steps to make the Alliance irreversible.”

Under the three-way Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi Motors alliance, Renault holds a 43.4 percent stake in Nissan, while Nissan has a 15 percent stake in the French automaker and a 34 percent stake in Mitsubishi Motors Corp. Nissan’s global vehicle sales are about 1.5 times greater than Renault’s, the reverse of their capital relationship.

Ghosn is said to have envisaged a plan to integrate the three companies by jointly establishing a holding company in an attempt to deter the dissolution of the relationship. He explained the specifics of the plan to Nissan President and CEO Hiroto Saikawa in September last year.

At Nissan, senior officials were among those that strongly opposed the integration plan. Ghosn had planned to explain the proposal to Mitsubishi Motors for the first time during his visit to Japan in November last year, but he was arrested upon arrival. As the arrest came just as he was about to start implementing the plan, he is said to view the situation as a coup by Nissan.

Saikawa has denied the coup theory since the beginning. Several senior Nissan officials have severely criticized Ghosn, with one saying, “Apart from the integration, he was engaged in misconduct that is unacceptable for a corporate leader.”

Nissan’s in-house investigations have found cases in which Ghosn made Nissan bear the costs used for his private purposes, including entering an advisory contract with his sister for which there was no evidence of her activities, and acquiring and renovating luxury residences.

With Renault having recently appointed Jean-Dominique Senard as its new chairman, the three companies have confirmed their commitment to maintaining the alliance. On the surface, there have been no evident moves on integration.

The French government, however, sent a delegation to Japan in mid-January and conveyed to the Japanese government its intention to seek the integration of Nissan and Renault. In Paris on Feb. 1, Saikawa held talks in secret with senior French government officials including Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire. Bargaining over the integration continues.

Nissan plans to dismiss Ghosn from the board of directors and appoint Senard as a new director at an extraordinary shareholders meeting in April.

Ghosn was released on bail just as the Japanese automaker was entering a key stage of launching a reborn Nissan. It’s likely Ghosn will insist on his innocence while ratcheting up criticism of Saikawa and other Nissan executives. Depending on the public opinion trends at home and abroad, Nissan’s efforts to build a new management structure might also be swayed.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


The Japan News
About the Author: The Japan News is published by The Yomiuri Shimbun, which boasts the largest circulation in the world.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Business

India bans e-cigarettes

The decision has been met with criticism and charges of favouritism. The Union Cabinet’s move on Wednesday clearing an ordinance for banning production, import, distribution and sale of electronic cigarettes and proposing a jail term and fine for its violators evoked mixed reactions among a section of Delhi doctors and other stakeholders. The Centre’s decision was slammed by trade bodies and certain stakeholders related to e-cigarettes, who reportedly alleged that it was a “draconian” move taken hastily in the interest of the conventional cigarette industry. They also charged that the government was depriving people of a safer alternative to smoking. Dr Gyandeep Mangal, senior consultant in Respiratory Medicine, Sri Balaji Action Medical Institute, said, “We are glad with the ban on e-cigarettes by Union Cabinet as these are as harmful as regular cigarettes. It is true that e-cigarette doesn


By The Statesman
September 19, 2019

Business

Carrie Lam assures investors Hong Kong can rebound from protests

Written by the Associated Press as appearing in the Straits Times. Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam has told investors at a Belt and Road forum that the semi-autonomous Chinese territory can rebound from months of protests, despite no sign that the unrest will cool down. Mrs Lam voiced confidence at Wednesday’s (Sept 11) forum that rifts can be mended through government plans for dialogue and upholding the so-called “one country, two systems” policy that gives Hong Kong some freedoms not enjoyed on the mainland. She said Hong Kong’s “indomitable resilience” will see the city through the conflict. Mrs Lam’s promise last week to axe an extradition Bill that sparked demonstrations failed t


By The Straits Times
September 12, 2019

Business

Nissan board pushes out Saikawa after disclosure of improper compensation

The embattled company is facing major structural changes on the back of two scandals. Nissan Motor Co. announced Monday that President and Chief Executive Officer Hiroto Saikawa will resign, effective Sept. 16. The company’s board requested his resignation in the wake of a revelation that he had improperly received compensation, and he accepted the request. The automaker aims to choose a successor by the end of October. Meanwhile, Chief Operating Officer Yasuhiro Yamauchi will serve as acting CEO until then. “I have considered that my mission was to restore ties with Renault and improve earnings,” Saikawa said during a press conference Monday night at Nissan headquarters in Yokohama. “I have considered that if a successor system is established, I should start handing over my duties.” The successor will be chosen by the company’s nomination commi


By The Japan News
September 11, 2019

Business

B Grimm alots 38.5 billion Baht till 2022 in Asean

The company has earmarked the money for investment. B Grimm Power Plc has set aside more than Bt38.5 billion for investment in its power projects with the aim of achieving 5,000 megawatts by 2022, the company’s chief executive officer Preeyanart Soontornwata said after opening its largest solar farm electricity plant in Tay Ninh, Vietnam in last week. “We will focus on green energy such as solar, wind and hydropower in Thailand and others countries in Asia,” she said. The company is currently developing renewable energy in Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, South Korea, and the Philippines through 17 co-generation plants, 24 solar PVs, three hydro-power plants, one industrial waste-to-energy project, and a diesel generation with a total capacity of 2,896 megawatts. The company is looking to expand investment in Malaysia, Cambodia, South Korea, and the Philippines by f


By The Nation (Thailand)
September 10, 2019

Business

Mitsubishi Aircraft cleared for takeoff in N. America market

It will be the first indigenous mass produced aircraft from Japan in decades. Mitsubishi Aircraft Corp. announced last week that it had signed a memorandum of understanding with Mesa Airlines Inc. of the United States to supply 100 of its Mitsubishi SpaceJet regional aircraft — a major step for expanding its struggling business into North America, the world’s largest market. Industry observers are keenly watching to see if sales of the Mitsubishi SpaceJet can prvide as momentum for Mitsubishi Aircraft to escape its current strife. The SpaceJet, Japan’s first domestically produced passenger jet formerly known as Mitsubishi Regional Jet, has a capacity of about 70 seats, and meets growing demand in the United States for smaller aircraft. If the order is formally decided, it will be the first deal for the manufacturer in about three years. With a price tag of a


By The Japan News
September 10, 2019

Business

China says Canada solely responsible for difficulties in relations

The heiress to the Huawei fortune has been arrested in Canada, while China has arrested several Canadians. China-Canada relations have met serious difficulties, and the Canadian side is solely responsible for this, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said Thursday. Geng Shuang made the comment at a press briefing when asked about Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s remarks that the Canadian government would not “back down” in disputes with China. Urging the Canadian side to reflect upon its mistakes, Geng said Canada should treat China’s solemn position and concerns seriously and immediately release Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Huawei. Geng also criticized Canada’s series of wrong comments on Hong Kong, saying that Hong Kong affairs are China’s internal affairs and brook no interference from any country, organization or individual.


By China Daily
August 23, 2019