Nissan Joint Ventures with Renault

Nissan considers giving Renault some seats on oversight committees, report says

TOKYO — Nissan is considering giving its alliance partner Renault some seats on planned oversight committees after Renault expressed discontent with the envisioned governance reform, a source said.

The two-decade-old partnership of Nissan and Renault was plunged into a crisis after Renault’s demand for a greater say in Nissan’s new governance system drew rare public censure by Nissan.

Renault, which owns 43.4 percent of Nissan, signaled it would block Nissan from formally adopting an overhauled governance structure at a June 25 shareholder meeting — unless Renault received representation on new Nissan committees.

Nissan is now considering having Renault executives as members of the nomination, audit and compensation committees, a person with direct knowledge said.

“Nissan will have to make concessions for our governance reform,” the person said. “Whether two or three seats, we still don’t know how many committees we will be giving to Renault, but we are in talks with Renault to give some seats to someone recommended by Renault.”

Renault Chairman Jean-Dominique Senard said earlier in the week that he was confident of reaching an agreement with Nissan on the composition of the Japanese company’s main board committees.

He said he would support Nissan’s governance reform if Nissan allowed Renault’s two representatives on Nissan’s board to be part of its powerful committees.

Nissan had offered to let only Senard to sit on the committees but Renault is insisting its CEO Thierry Bollore also have a role.

A second source familiar with Nissan’s thinking said that there is no agreement yet on Renault’s recommendations and the two companies are still negotiating.

“There is still a gap … both sides need to make concessions. The question is whether they can narrow (the gap),” this person said.

Nissan chairman picked

In a related development, the source with direct knowledge said that Nissan has recommended Yasushi Kimura, adviser to leading fuel distributor JXTGHoldings, to become the chairman of Nissan’s board of directors.

Kimura will have to be approved to become an external director at the shareholder meeting slated for June 25. His official appointment as chairman of the board will be decided at the board meeting after the shareholder meeting.