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Nissan's Ghosn crisis

No shareholders meeting necessary, Nissan tells Renault

Saikawa and Bollore discuss future steps in person for first time since Ghosn's arrest

Nissan Motor is no longer allowing its chairman complete control over executive pay.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Nissan Motor President and CEO Hiroto Saikawa has met face-to-face with Renault Deputy CEO Thierry Bollore in Amsterdam for the first time since the arrest of former Chairman Carlos Ghosn, as the Japanese automaker digs in its heels regarding its future leadership.

"I had a very good discussion" with Bollore, Saikawa told reporters upon returning to Japan on Wednesday after attending the meeting of the three-way alliance that includes Mitsubishi Motors.

Nissan sent Bollore a letter rejecting his request for an extraordinary shareholders meeting to appoint Ghosn's successor, sources familiar with the matter said. The automaker's board had decided on Monday that there was no need for such a meeting.

In addition, Nissan decided at the board meeting to scrap a bylaw giving its chairman complete discretion over executive pay, in an attempt to prevent Ghosn's successor from wielding as much power over the company as he did. The automaker plans to outline a new decision-making process for executive pay through the new governance committee, set up Monday.

Sources also revealed details of the Restated Alliance Master Agreement, which governs the terms of the automakers' partnership. Renault can appoint one fewer director to Nissan's board than Nissan, ensuring the Japanese company's majority, while Renault-picked directors cannot vote on matters tied to appointments, compensation and the board itself.

And while the French multinational has the right to pick executives at the chief operating officer level and above, Nissan "won't be forced to accept an appointment, and can decide whether Renault's picks are appropriate,"  a source said. 

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