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

Huawei asks US court to overturn ban

The company is suing the FCC, the latest in a series of legal tussles. The legal battle between Huawei Technologies Co and United States government intensified on Thursday. The Chinese tech heavyweight announced a legal challenge to the US Federal Communications Commission, seeking to overturn the latter’s order that bans telecom carriers from buying the company’s equipment via federal subsidies. The move is the latest push by the world’s largest telecom equipment maker to pursue fair competition and treatment amid a slate of restrictions from Washington. Analysts said the FCC ban would have very limited impact on Huawei’s financial performance, but labeling the company as a national security threat would cause far-reaching reputational harm. In a petition filed in the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit on Thursday, Huawei asked the court to declare the FCC order un


By Esther Ng
December 6, 2019

Business

Is Vietnam an attractive place for Samsung chip plant?

The tech giant already has manufacturing plants in the country. Is Vietnam a good place for chipmakers to consider building a high-tech plant? In light of a request by the Vietnamese head of state to Samsung Electronics, the world’s largest chipmaker, many in South Korea are asking whether it is a viable business move. In a private meeting held in Seoul on Thursday, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc asked Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong to consider building a chip manufacturing facility there. The Korean tech giant already has production plants for mobile phones and other IT devices in the country. Following the re


By Zaffar Abbas
December 2, 2019

Business

Nepal’s luxury hotels are growing but the rooms are empty

There are 15 five-star hotels in the country, and a dozen more are being planned even as existing hotels continue to report a significant drop in profit. High-end hotels might be proliferating across the country but there aren’t enough guests to fill them up, according to the financial reports of Nepal’s three key five-star institutions. The first quarter financial reports from Taragaon Regency Hotels, Soaltee Hotel and Oriental Hotels, all of which are listed on the Nepal Stock Exchange, showed that profits have taken a nosedive after posting record profits last fiscal year. The first quarter of the fiscal year runs from mid-July to the end of September. The three hotel groups say that unhealthy competition, like price undercutting, a demand-and-supply gap, and a growing number of backpackers are behind the sharp fall in earnings. According to its report, Oriental Hotels, which operates Radi


By The Kathmandu Post
November 21, 2019

Business

Huawei to match Google’s mobile services by Q1 2020

The company to support more Android apps on its phones. Huawei may soon be able to offer Android developers a full range of the essential mobile services required for their apps as the ones provided by Google. This would allow more Android apps to work on new Huawei phones affected by a ban that forbids the use of Google mobile services on these handsets. Mr Zhang Ping’an, president of Huawei Consumer Cloud Service told The Straits Times in an interview at Huawei’s Asia-Pacific Developer Day last Wednesday (Nov 13) that Huawei Mobile Services can “replace 90 per cent of Google Mobile Services by December”. These mobile services from Google and Huawei are used by developers to enable key functions in their mobile apps to, for


By The Straits Times
November 21, 2019

Business

Excessive discounts worked against Nissan Motor profits

The company has been on the back foot since its former CEO was accused of mismanagement. Nissan Motor Co. has reported a massive 85 percent decline in operating profits — an area that indicates the strength or weakness of a company’s main business — in its midterm consolidated financial report for the half fiscal year ending in September. The pursuit of increased sales has harmed profitability, delaying the development of new Nissan models. That in turn has resulted in fewer sales — a vicious cycle the automaker is struggling to escape from. Nissan Motor’s deteriorating business performance may affect its three-way partnership with Renault SA, the French automaker that is its largest shareholder, and Mitsubishi Motors Corp. Failed strategy by Ghosn Nissan Corporate Vice President Stephen Ma, who will become chief financial officer on Dec. 1


By The Japan News
November 14, 2019

Business

US property loses allure for Chinese buyers

Economic factors contribute to falling demand.  Over the past 10 months, Bei Qin, a realtor in Silicon Valley, California, has not had any clients from China, a market that used to be her major source of business. “We had the best business in 2016 and 2017. Every day, we had inquiries from Chinese buyers and every week our WeChat account had more than 10 new subscribers,” said Qin, president of ACEQ Investment Group in Cupertino. “Now those days are gone.” After a decade of increasing investment by wealthy Chinese in residential property purchases in the United States-the biggest proportion of international buyers for seven consecutive y


By Esther Ng
November 12, 2019