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New Panel In Nissan Presses Ahead With Governance Reforms In Company

New Panel In Nissan Presses Ahead With Governance Reforms In Company
According to reports in the media, even as the French government is attempting to maintaining a strong hand in the Japanese auto maker Nissan, the Japanese firm is investigating the possibilities for implementing governance reforms and has appointed a special panel to help the company to draw out a strategy to run the company following the exit of its ousted Chairman Carlos Ghosn.
In its first meeting after its formation, the special committee interviewed two people associated with the auto maker in relation to the alleged misconduct of Ghosn. The newly formed panel has been tasked with charting out a strategy for enhancement of plans in relation to executive compensation and personnel matters.
It was just a short time before the first meeting of the panel that the French government, which is a major shareholders in Nissan’s alliance partner and French car maker Renault, called for integration of the two companies. Since the arrest and ouster of Ghosh from Nissan, the relations between the French and the Japanese car maker has been strained and Renault has been trying to exert more control over the Japanese company, straining the relations further.  
"Ghosn's misconduct represents a lapse in managerial ethics," Seiichiro Nishioka, the panel's chair, told reporters after the meeting.
The root of the problem, according to Nishioka, a former Tokyo District Court judge, lies in "the concentration of power in one person". "We would like to offer improvement plans by getting to the bottom of Nissan's government problems," he said.
Ghosn was arrested in Tokyo on November 19, 2018 on charges of financial misconduct that included him allegedly underreporting his remuneration from Nissan for year as well as of shifting his personal investment losses to the company accounts. He has been under detention since his arrest. Ghosh has denied all allegations against him. 
One of the panel members, Sadayuki Sakakibara, who is also a senior adviser to Japanese materials company Toray Industries, said that the transgressions of Ghosn were "beyond imagining" especially when pitted against the huge achievements he had gained. Sakakibara said that plans for formation of a compensation committee and restructuring of the board of directors are being contemplated by the panel.
It is expected that the recommendations of the panel would made by the end of March and the Nissan would consider them when they appoint a replacement for Ghosn.
There had been no discussions about the integration of Renault and Nissan within the French government, said French Economy and Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire on Sunday. "Our focus is for Renault to set up a solid, steady and sustainable management structure," he told reporters in Cairo. Analysts believe that the aim of the comments of the minister was to allay increasing concerns about French pressure in Japan.
According to reports and some conjecture, the French government is reportedly attempting to bring together Nissan and Renault under a single holding company which was a plan that was a conveyed to the top brass of Nissan in Tokyo through a director of Renault last week. According to reports, in the case of an integration of the two companies, the share of Nissan would be lower than the 15 per cent that it currently has in Renault.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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