11 March, 2019

Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance set for single-board structure

The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance is planning to form a single board that will oversee governance and operations across all manufacturers.

The move comes following tensions in the cross-manufacturer agreement exposed by the arrest of former CEO Carlos Ghosn. A single board would help to quicken decisions while ensuring that each carmaker feels validated.

A statement released by Renault confirmed that talks are ongoing. ‘In response to recent press reports, Renault confirms that it is in discussions with its Alliance partners Nissan and Mitsubishi regarding the establishment of a new Alliance body in order to enhance and ensure further collaboration,’ it said. ‘The proposed arrangement will have no impact on the existence of the RAMA and the cross-shareholding structure, which will both remain in place.

‘These discussions have not yet led to a definitive agreement. Any agreement shall be submitted for prior approval to the Board of Directors of Renault.’

It is believed that the new group will replace two separate Amsterdam-based alliance entities, Renault-Nissan BV and Nissan-Mitsubishi BV. It could be chaired by new Renault Chairman Jean-Dominique Senard, who recently said that discussions over the future of the Alliance are premature.

The Frenchman has taken on the task of overseeing Alliance activities as part of his expanded role. In a release, Renault highlighted his new responsibilities: ‘Renault's Board of Directors wishes to supervise the functioning of the Alliance actively and decides to give its Chairman full responsibility for managing the Alliance on behalf of Renault, in liaison with the Chief Executive Officer.

‘In this capacity, the Chairman of Renault's Board of Directors will be the main contact person for the Japanese partner and the other Alliance partners for any discussion on the Alliance's organisation and evolution.’

The plan for a single Alliance board is aimed at fostering a more balanced decision-making process between the three carmakers. The current structure is seen as outdated and obscure in its functions, with the automaker's own investigations finding that former Chairman Ghosn funnelled money from the Dutch units, allegations Ghosn has said were a ‘distortion of reality.’

Ghosn’s arrest is seen as a result of his efforts for Renault to take full control of Nissan. The Japanese company reported allegations of financial misconduct to prosecutors in a potential coup. Ghosn was removed from his role of chairman at Nissan shortly after his arrest, with Mitsubishi following suit soon after. Ghosn later resigned his role of CEO at Renault.

The Brazilian was recently released on bail, set at ¥1 billion (€8 million), but must adhere to strict conditions. A Tokyo court also rejected Ghosn’s request to attend Nissan’s board meeting on Tuesday, where plans for the single board structure are set to be outlined.