The arrest and detention of Carlos Ghosn over corporate corruption is similar to fracking. The pressure had been building for years before the earthquake news shook the world of one of the most celebrated automotive CEOs in recent times. Key figureheads of the Nissan Mitsubishi Renault Alliance met on Thursday at their Amsterdam HQ. The meeting was convened to determine who should replace Ghosn as the interim boss.
The Nissan Mitsubishi Renault Alliance meeting lasted for less than one hour and no decision had been made who would replace Ghosn. Instead interim chief Thierry Bollore, Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa, and Mitsubishi CEO Osamu Masuko agreed to lead “by committee”.
The meeting alone exposes a serious breach in relations between Renault on one side and Nissan and Mitsubishi on the other.
For such a serious meeting to last for less than one hour is indicative of a broken relationship within the boardroom. It is literally a Japan vs France penalty knockout.
And the Alliance later released a short statement using generic terms confirming the iron core of the once seemingly unbreakable Alliance remains intact.
Alliance Statment:Over the past few days, the Board of Directors of Groupe Renault, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd and Mitsubishi Motors Corporation have all – individually and collectively – emphatically reiterated their strong commitment to the Alliance.The Alliance has achieved unparalleled success in the past two decades.We remain fully committed to the Alliance.
To release such a short statement in a time of corporate crisis is another indicator that the Alliance is now a sinking ship. But the crew are still playing violins as the ship slowly submerges.
Nissan CEO, Hiroto Saikawa, who has stated that the Alliance is unfair and gives too much privilege to Renault provided what is, an interim statement after the Thursday meeting;
“It was an extremely good meeting,” Saikawa said. “We were able to confirm that the three of us would take the lead, which was excellent.”
Nissan makes a majority of Alliance profits, yet Renault is effectively the de facto power broker having a 47 percent stake in Nissan.
So for the Alliance to be led by three and not one CEO after many years is unusual because often these arrangements require a lot of negotiations before being put into motion.
The latter is indicative of a dysfunctional relationship. Renault’s authority, despite having the majority in terms of shareholding, has now been usurped by the very power it once wielded.
The Nissan, Mitsubishi, Renault Alliance is a dead man walking. It is only a matter of months before it is killed off.
Nissan, Mitsubishi will go their way and Renault will reluctantly become the biggest losers.