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Nissan Panel Considers Boardroom Reforms

Nissan Panel Considers Boardroom Reforms
While the French government is attempting to maintain greater control over Japan’s Nissan motors with respect to the alliance between the Japanese car maker and French auto company Renault, Nissan has initiated imposition of governance reforms by the use of a special panel to discuss how the company should be run after the end of the episode of former chairman Carlos Ghosn after his arrest and ouster from the company.
Information about the alleged wrongdoing of Ghosn was sought from two people affiliated with the Japanese automaker by the special committee of experts and outside directors during the panel’s first meeting on Sunday. Aim objective of the setting up of the panel, which was set up in December, is to identify plans for enhancement of executive compensation and personnel matters at the company following the Ghosn episode.
Just hours before the meeting, the French government, which is the largest shareholder in Nissan's alliance partner Renault – sent a request to Tokyo that it wants to integrate the two automakers. The tensions between the largest auto alliance in the world – which also includes Mitsubishi, came to the forefront after the arrest of Ghosn and France now is reportedly trying to exert more control over the alliance even as Nissan is trying to gain more independence from the clutches of the French auto maker which owns 44 per cent stake in the Japanese company. 
"Ghosn's misconduct represents a lapse in managerial ethics," Seiichiro Nishioka, the panel's chair, told reporters after the meeting. The root cause of the problem , "the concentration of power in one person", noted Nishioka, a former Tokyo District Court judge. "We would like to offer improvement plans by getting to the bottom of Nissan's government problems," he said.
Ghosn has been charged with unrereporting his income from Nissan and some other allegations of financial misconduct and has been under detention after his arrest on November 19 in Tokyo. Ghosn has denied all allegations of wrongdoing.
Another panel member Sadayuki Sakakibara, a senior adviser to Japanese materials company Toray Industries, said that Ghosn’s transgressions were "beyond imagining," especially when his achievements are considered. Sakakibara said that restructuring of the board of directors and establishment of a compensation committee are being considered by the panel.
Nissan would be filling the chairman’s position in the company- which belonged to Ghosn before his ouster, at the end of March and the recommendations of the panel would be considered by the company at that point in time.
On the other hand, information that the French government had discussed the integration of Renault with Nissan was made in a statement by the 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. It is estimated that the comments made by him was to douse concerns in Japan a\bout the growing pressure of the French on the Japanese company.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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