Nissan asking shareholders to vote to oust Ghosn as director

Sepehri attends a news conference in Paris France on Oct. 6 2017. Charles Platiau  Reuters

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

Japanese automaker Nissan is sending out notices to shareholders asking them to dismiss former Chairman Carlos Ghosn as a director at an April 8 shareholders' meeting, the company said Wednesday.

The announcement at a press conference in Yokohama, where Nissan is based, was created to ease the tensions that have flared within the alliance since the arrest of Carlos Ghosn. He was released on a $9 million bail only last week.

The new body will purportedly allow the alliance to cooperate more efficiently, effectively and on a consensual basis, Senard said, adding that the shift in leadership structure would allow the alliance to better respond to changes in the automotive industry, such as the growing popularity of electric vehicles.

Prosecutors submitted a document to the Tokyo District Court from Nissan stating its opposition to Ghosn attending Tuesday's board meeting, Ghosn's lawyer, Junichiro Hironaka, told reporters.

Nissan senior vice president for human resources Arun Bajaj left the firm on 11 March, the company said today.

After staying for about three months in jail, Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn is granted bail on Tuesday. He faces charges of under-reporting his salary at Nissan by about $82 million over almost a decade - charges he has called "meritless".

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Senard also said he would not seek to be chairman of Nissan, but instead was a "natural candidate" to be vice-chairman. It was not clear who would become Nissan's chairman, vacant since Ghosn was arrested in Japan in November.

Ghosn, who strenuously denies all charges against him, was said to be "disappointed" not to be able to attend the meeting.

The notice says the agenda also includes the election of Renault Chairman Jean-Dominique Senard as a Nissan director, on the condition that Ghosn is ousted.

In the wake of the scandal, Renault began its own review of payments to Ghosn.

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, including possibly a full merger.

Currently, Renault owns a 43.4 percent stake in Nissan, with Nissan in turn holding a 15 percent stake in its French partner.

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