Business

Nissan shareholders approve post-Ghosn governance overhaul

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Nissan shareholders Tuesday approved an overhaul intended to strengthen governance at the crisis-hit Japanese automaker, still reeling from the Carlos Ghosn scandal and facing tensions with its French partner Renault.

Shareholders voted in favour of a series of reforms, including the establishment of three new oversight committees responsible for the appointment of senior officials, pay issues and auditing.

They also approved the election of 11 directors as the firm restructures, among them two Renault executives as well as current Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa.

The reforms are designed to put Nissan on a more stable footing after the shock caused by former boss Ghosn’s arrest on multiple financial misconduct charges.

Adding to the company’s operational woes, net profit fell to a near-decade low in the last business year and it has already warned of “a difficult business environment” for the next 12 months.

But the reform plan nearly fell apart after Renault, which owns 43 percent of Nissan, complained it did not have enough of a say in the new structure.

Crisis was averted when Nissan suggested Renault chairman Jean-Dominique Senard sit on the appointments committee, and CEO Thierry Bollore on the audit committee.

However, Renault will not be represented on the new committee on pay — possibly reflecting longstanding rancour in Japan over Ghosn’s high compensation compared to most Japanese CEOs.

Saikawa has himself come under pressure, both for the disastrous financial performance of the firm and because the Ghosn protege is seen as a legacy of that era.

He opened the meeting Tuesday at Nissan’s headquarters in Yokohama outside Tokyo by offering “sincere regrets” over the tumult that has engulfed the firm in recent months.

BBC

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