By on July 1, 2019

Renault Chairman Jean-Dominique Senard could have had a better time at Nissan’s shareholder meeting last week. New details of the event have come to us via Automotive News and they’re helping to showcase just how fractured the Renault–Nissan–Mitsubishi Alliance has become. While returning Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa focused on developing a succession plan for upper management, Senard attempted to appease an angry mob of Japanese shareholders who have absolutely had it with France.

As there was no exit poll for the event, we’ve no idea how many shareholders have it in for la République. But numerous accounts of the event described the situation as chaotic and angry with some international bad blood on full display. 

In fact, it’s our suspicion that Saikawa’s reappointment as CEO hinged (at least in part) on there being a sizable number Japanese investors that are sick of Renault and the French government pulling the strings at Nissan. Renault has a controlling 43 percent stake in the Japanese automaker, while Nissan has a 15 percent stake in Renault, with no voting rights. But Saikawa has been trying to balance power within the alliance — whether that be through overt committee reforms or via unconfirmed claims that he orchestrated the arrest of his former boss, and merger advocate, Carlos Ghosn.

At one point, a former Nissan employee publicly expressed his gratitude to Ghosn for saving Nissan from bankruptcy in 1999 and was promptly told to shut up by another shareholder — followed by some pocketed yelling.

During the fracas meeting, Saikawa hinted that he might not be with the company for long. But, before he leaves, he said he wanted to restore Nissan’s lagging profits, implement new corporate governance reforms, and fix the company’s strained relationship with Renault.

While Saikawa had to address concerns of numerous shareholders begging that he not allow Nissan to integrate with Renault any further and accusations that he has allowed the company to fail, Senard had it far worse. He was criticized by shareholders for having a phony baloney affection for Nissan and bashed for allowing Renault to even consider a merger with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles when the current state of the auto alliance leaves much to be desired.

From Automotive News:

One shareholder said he feared a foreign takeover of Nissan and took a dig at Senard’s nationality, saying “French people” often hide true intentions behind a smiling facade. “They are really sly,” the shareholder said.

“Can you behave as a Nissan director and not just as the chairman of Renault?” he asked Senard. “You would like to take advantage of the merger for Renault. That’s obvious.”

Senard’s rebuttal was emotional. He pleaded with the audience to believe that he has the automaker’s best interests at heart.

“I beg you to believe me on that,” Senard said. “There was obviously no aggressive intention.”

“The last thing that came in my mind was to be aggressive toward a company of which I am a director. I beg you to believe me on that,” he said. “There are no bad intentions at all.”

Senard defended the proposed merger with FCA, saying Nissan had missed an opportunity. “You know who was very pleased after the announcement that this deal was stopped? All our competitors in the world,” he said. “They understood that if this deal had gone through, it would have been a very, very strong feature for the alliance.”

This was, reportedly, not met with much praise from the Japanese crowd. But at least Senard seems aware that the Renault–Nissan–Mitsubishi Alliance is in real trouble. He told audience their corporate relationship was in “much worse state” than he thought.

However, that statement was likely for the benefit of Nissan’s angry shareholders. If Senard seriously just realized there are far-reaching problems between Renault and Nissan, he has no business running a car company.

 

[Image: Renault]

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12 Comments on “Nissan’s Shareholder Meeting Sure Sucked for Renault’s Chairman...”


  • avatar
    moparman42434445

    Nissan seems likely headed towards where many other long and storied brand marque’s have ended up…..the scrap heap of history!!! It’s a very sad state that those arrogant Japanese could have avoided simply by swallowing their unfounded pride and joined what would have become the largest automotive group in the world but that wouldn’t fit in with their false belief that they are superior to all others and don’t need the help!!! Sad

    • 0 avatar
      Guitar man

      Maybe the Japanese Ministry of Trade will supply sufficient finance for Nissan to buy out Renault’s stake (I don’t think they’d accept an equity swap) and form a merger with Mitsubishi, the “silent” partner. Well it could happen.

    • 0 avatar
      car driver

      I disagree, I agree with nissan , they have the most technology, yet treated as the smaller player, why should they swallow their pride, on what? Even the electric nissan race car replace the renault eadams running, the car only bear the name nissan, still all renault parts, that why nissan have to develop the RC.

  • avatar
    moparman42434445

    Nissan seems likely headed towards where many other long and storied brand marque’s have ended up…..the scrap heap of history!!! It’s a very sad state that those arrogant Japanese could have avoided simply by swallowing their unfounded pride and joined what would have become the largest automotive group in the world but that wouldn’t fit in with their false belief that they are superior to all others and don’t need the help!!! Sad

  • avatar

    The French can’t do business with those people.
    Give Nissan the chance to buy the 43% at a premium and let them have at it.

    “You want independence? Sure, it will cost you X”.

    Whatever did or did not happen give Ghosn props for the juggling act he was able to
    do for years.

    They aren’t in for the money. They are in it for power and pride.

    • 0 avatar
      Hydromatic

      Well, pride goeth before a fall and Nissan’s fall from grace has been long in the making.

      • 0 avatar
        car driver

        Nissan has not falling, nissan have all tech to move them forward, that why renault cannot go without nissan, they just need to bring out their EV , hybrid and fuel cell tech, and autonomous tech, renault would have more to loose than nissan if they separate, and they renault know this, the hybrid in the up coming renault is all nissan, the only thing they renault develop was the gear box, they renault have not the experience in EV, trucks, SUV, AWD like nissan and mitsubishi.

    • 0 avatar
      car driver

      really, what has renault bring to the table, worth more than nissan? nissan brought EV tech, hybrid tech, fuel cell tech, autonomous tech, even the 1.8 turbo in the megane RS is nissan tech. would you like being boss around while you are the one bring all the tech?

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    Similar to what happened to the Yugalsavian federation.
    Once that the strongman Tito was gone, all the bad blood between the different ethnic groups came to the surface.

    Granted, this is not the best analogy. But the point that I am trying to make is that us human beings, deep inside are always tribal in nature.

    In good times any sins may be “forgiven”, but not completely forgotten.
    When times become rough, they will immediately surface.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    The grand auto conglomerates are breaking up one by one. VW has talked of spinning off parts to help pay for its expen$ive future, and FCA spun off Ferrari a while ago.

    This alliance clearly can’t work due to a major cultural divide. That’s what nearly killed Chrysler under M-B.

    • 0 avatar
      car driver

      Exactly, And also nissan has more technology, but treated as the smaller player. The french cannot just let go, they made a lot from the alliance, but still trying to strangle it.

  • avatar
    car driver

    really, what has renault bring to the table, worth more than nissan? nissan brought EV tech, hybrid tech, fuel cell tech, autonomous tech, even the 1.8 turbo in the megane RS is nissan tech. would you like being boss around while you are the one bring all the tech?


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