The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance has a new board, what does it mean?

After the overseer was ousted from the alliance (aka Carlos Ghosn, though he remains a director), Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi have now come together to form a decision-making committee in place of the power that was held and wielded by Ghosn only.

Ghosn used to call the shots, now there’s a committee of four, will it be better?
(From left: Bollore, Senard, Saikawa and Masuko)

The new board comprises Jean-Dominique Senard (as chairman and Senard is also the chairman of Renault), Thierry Bollore (CEO of Renault), Hiroto Saikawa (CEO of Nissan), Osamu Masuko (CEO of Mitsubishi Motors) and will oversee ‘the operations and governance of the alliance’. It is supposed to signify a new start, with decisions made by the board to be ‘consensus-based’, in furtherance of a ‘win-win’ approach.

While the formation of the board may give rise to a more equitable decision-making process for the alliance partners (at least on paper), the shareholding structure remains unchanged – Renault owns 43.4% of Nissan, Nissan owns 15% of Renault and 34% of Mitsubishi, with Nissan being the biggest contributor to Renault’s profits. Many at Nissan’s headquarters in Yokohama will want to address that imbalance.

Saikawa (left) and Ghosn in happier days; seen here unveiling a sculpture in 2017 which has since become a symbol of the latter’s power at Nissan HQ.

More crucially for shareholders and customers of Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi is whether this new board will bring about the synergies that large auto alliances leverage on. Compared to the slick cross-sharing of resources and platforms shown by the Volkswagen group, Nissan and Renault has done precious little together in the last 20 years. How about a Nissan and Mitsubishi equivalent of the Megane RS (in different body-styles of course), or a range of EVs based on shared hardware and a common charging standard? Let’s hope the decision-making on product matters won’t be bogged down by committees.     


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