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Nissan's Ghosn crisis

Saikawa faces struggle to fill vacant chair as Nissan interim chairman

Soft-spoken and practical leader faces Renault's resistance over alliance's advantage

TOKYO -- Hiroto Saikawa, chief executive of Nissan, should have been the obvious candidate to replace Carlos Ghosn as interim chairman of the Japanese carmaker after his former boss was charged last week with financial misconduct.

After all, Nissan's partners in the alliance with Renault of France and Mitsubishi Motor of Japan -- a structure crafted by Ghosn over nearly 20 years -- have both promoted their number two executives into interim positions to stabilize a crucial partnership which today ranks as the world's second biggest car producer.

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