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Nissan's Ghosn crisis

Nissan offers seats to Renault's top 2 in governance compromise

New proposal adds fourth committee to accommodate Senard and Bollore

Renault Chairman Jean-Dominique Senard, left and Nissan President and CEO Hiroto Saikawa: Nissan has agreed to Renault's request for representation on new board committees. (Nikkei montage)

PARIS -- Nissan Motor is proposing to create a new board committee with seats for alliance partner Renault's chairman and CEO in a bid to avoid a clash with the French automaker at an upcoming shareholders meeting, Nikkei has learned.

The new committee would be an addition to nomination, compensation and audit committees proposed as part of a Nissan corporate governance reform plan, according to sources at both automakers.

Renault Chairman Jean-Dominique Senard and CEO Thierry Bollore would receive multiple seats on the four boards, these sources said.

The compromise aims to avoid discord at Nissan's shareholders meeting next Tuesday and secure support from Renault, the company's top shareholder, for reforms meant to prevent the concentration of power seen under since-ousted Chairman Carlos Ghosn.

Ghosn, a central figure in creating one what is now one of the world's top automaking alliances, awaits trial in Japan on charges of financial wrongdoing following his arrest last November.

Nissan had originally proposed creating only three new board committees. The company did not disclose the committees' proposed membership, but it reportedly planned to nominate only Senard for a seat.

Renault began pressuring Nissan about the nominations early this month, with Senard sending a letter to Nissan President and CEO Hiroto Saikawa conveying Renault's intent to abstain from voting.

Because changes to Nissan's articles of incorporation require a two-thirds majority to pass, the committee proposal is almost certain to fail without the approval of Renault, which holds a 43.4% stake.

Possible names for the proposed fourth committee include "strategy committee," the sources said.

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