Renault Strips Ghosn Loyalist of Executive Role

A man seen at outside Nissan Serramonte in Colma California

Nissan, Renault and Mitsubishi pledge new start

Renault has sidelined a senior executive close to Carlos Ghosn, as the French vehicle maker and its Japanese affiliate Nissan continue to overhaul management in the wake of the financial scandal engulfing their former chairman.

The new management structure will be in place for the Alliance's 20th birthday, which takes place on March 27.

Nissan is considering naming Sadayuki Sakakibara, former chairman of the Japan Business Federation and co-chair of a Nissan government committee, as the chief of the board.

At a press conference at Nissan's headquarters in Yokohama, the three automakers said a four-member board will be at the helm of overseeing the newly-structured alliance, to be chaired by Renault chief Jean-Dominique Senard.

It has seemingly relinquished this right, for now at least, in order to improve its relationship with Nissan.

Mr Senard told reporters.

Ghosn also handpicked former Nissan executives Mitsuhiko Yamashita and Vincent Cobee to help him rebuild Mitsubishi after its fuel-efficiency scandal.

Former Nissan chairman Ghosn was released on a $9 million bail last week after spending more than 100 days in a Tokyo detention centre.

Also on the shareholders' agenda is the dismissal of Greg Kelly, a director who was arrested with Ghosn and accused of working with Ghosn in the alleged misconduct. He faces charges of under-reporting his salary at the Japanese automaker by about $82 million over almost a decade - charges he has called "meritless".

That would replace Dutch-based companies now linking Nissan and Renault and, separately, Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors, the people said.

Ghosn, who strenuously denies all charges against him, was said to be "disappointed" not to be able to attend the meeting. It established in its own investigation that a 2016 Renault sponsorship deal with the Chateau de Versailles outside Paris included a 50,000 euro ($56,000) personal benefit to Ghosn, and said it would alert prosecutors.

His dramatic arrest and the detention exposed tensions between Nissan and top shareholder Renault, complicating the outlook for a partnership that is the world's largest maker of automobiles, excluding heavy trucks.

Some at Nissan had been unhappy with Ghosn's push for a deeper tie-up with Renault, which was seen as possibly including a full merger. Smaller Renault bought 43 percent of Nissan ahead of the 1999 rescue. Renault owns about 40 percent of Nissan, while Nissan holds a stake of 15 percent on Renault.

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