Renault is slowly pushing for a change of Nissan leadership as a beginning to merger talks, sources at both companies stated, after the Japanese automaker warned of additional slide in earnings following the Carlos Ghosn scandal.
Jean-Dominique Senard, who took the place of Ghosn as Renault chairman in January, sees Nissan boss Hiroto Saikawa as an obstacle to progress, several individuals informed Reuters.
Pressure for a tie-up — that Saikawa has rejected to discuss — will only escalate after Nissan revealed on Tuesday that its operating profit jumped 45 percent in the last fiscal year and will probably drop another 28 percent to “rock bottom” in the present one.
“Renault will continue to push for discussions citing performance as the impetus,” an executive close to Saikawa stated after the presentation of the results. “They’ve already started again today.”
These issues may come to a head at an initial meeting of Nissan directors being held as early as Wednesday, to plan for a full session on May 20, three sources stated.
Renault representative Frederic Texier and his Nissan counterpart Nick Maxfield both refused to comment.
Ghosn’s November arrest in Japan and quick ouster by Nissan strained the partnership, as Renault resisted a complete investigation of alliance finances and kept its absent leader in office as chairman and CEO for two other months.