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Nissan's Ghosn crisis

Renault urges Nissan to call shareholder meeting over Ghosn

Japanese carmaker's indictment 'creates significant risks', says French partner's chairman

Carlos Ghosn, former chairman of Nissan.
Carlos Ghosn, former chairman of Nissan.   © Reuters

NEW YORK/LONDON (Financial Times) -- Renault has urged Nissan's board to call an extraordinary general meeting on Monday, a move that would allow the French carmaker to make key appointments at the Japanese company after the removal of its chairman Carlos Ghosn.

In a letter dated December 14, Renault's acting chief executive Thierry Bollore wrote to his Nissan counterpart Hiroto Saikawa to express the French company's deep concerns about last week's indictment of Nissan along with Mr Ghosn on allegations of financial misconduct.

"The indictment creates significant risks to Renault, as Nissan's largest shareholder, and to the stability of our industrial alliance," Mr Bollore wrote in the letter to Mr Saikawa, which was seen by the Financial Times.

"In your upcoming Nissan board of directors meeting scheduled for this coming Monday, December 17th, we respectfully ask that the Board consider calling an Extraordinary General Meeting of Nissan shareholders as promptly as practicable. The EGM would allow for the appropriate disclosure and discussions of governance and other matters, including the Renault appointees on the Nissan board and in senior management."

Under the rules governing the Nissan-Renault alliance, known as RAMA, both companies have limited options to make changes at the board and senior management level. An EGM would allow them to make these changes, otherwise it would have to wait until June 2019 for Nissan's next scheduled annual general meeting.

Since the removal of Mr Ghosn the number of Nissan board members nominated by Renault has fallen from three to two and there are no senior managers at the company representing the French company's interests.

Mr Saikawa had not responded to the letter sent by Mr Bollore as of late on Sunday in Tokyo, according to a person close to the French carmaker, who added that Renault was seeking to find a constructive way to discuss the future of the alliance.

"This is not at all an aggressive move, we just want to have an appropriate forum to discuss the alliance after the indictment," said the person close to Renault.

The letter was also copied to Nissan's board, Renault's interim chairman Philippe Lagayette, Renault's head of the governance committee Patrick Thomas and Dieter Zetsche, chief executive of Daimler, which is a large investor in both the Japanese and French companies.

Nissan did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Renault declined to comment.

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