Nissan Motor Co CEO Hiroto Saikawa held a one-on-one meeting with the acting boss of automaker partner Renault in Amsterdam this week that led to “positive” and “productive” talks, the Japanese automaker said on Thursday. Tensions have risen between Nissan and Renault since the arrest of top executive Carlos Ghosn in Japan over allegations he understated his salary at Nissan where he was promptly sacked as chairperson while Renault has kept him on as chairperson and CEO. Ghosn denies the allegations; his Japanese lawyer has told other media.
Saikawa had characterised the meetings with Thierry Bollore as “positive” and “productive”, Nissan said in a statement, while declining to disclose the nature of the discussion. It added that Saikawa remained ready to directly share with Renault the details of its internal investigation into Ghosn’s alleged wrongdoing at any time.
Earlier this week, Saikawa said he would like to share the investigation details with Renault executives. Sources familiar with the matter say Nissan has briefed Renault lawyers on its findings relating to Ghosn’s alleged misconduct, although Renault directors have yet to be given access to the full information.
The scandal has shaken the partnership between Nissan, Renault and Mitsubishi Motors Corp, with Saikawa calling for changes to weaken Renault’s control over Nissan. Nissan has shunned demands from Renault to hold a shareholder meeting which would enable the French automaker to weigh in on Nissan’s selection of Ghosn’s replacement and other executive positions.
Renault owns 43.4% of Nissan, which holds a 15% stake in its French parent, but has no voting rights. Nissan owns 34% of Mitsubishi.
Ghosn was charged in Japan alongside Nissan board member Greg Kelly and Nissan itself over their failure to declare $43 million in deferred income. Ghosn and Kelly remain in custody and have had limited opportunity to respond to the allegations or defend themselves publicly.