Renault acting deputy CEO Thierry Bollore at a news conference in Paris, France, on November 21 2018. Picture: REUTERS/CHRISTIAN HARTMANN
Renault acting deputy CEO Thierry Bollore at a news conference in Paris, France, on November 21 2018. Picture: REUTERS/CHRISTIAN HARTMANN

Paris — Renault's interim deputy CEO said he would safeguard the car maker's interests in its alliance with Nissan, following the ousting of Carlos Ghosn as Nissan chair over financial misconduct allegations.

The Nissan board's vote to remove Ghosn as chair on Thursday drew a firm line under his stewardship of the nearly two-decade-old alliance.

"I will make sure we guarantee our stability and stay focused on our missions to preserve the interests of Renault and the sustainability of the alliance," Thierry Bollore, named as Ghosn's stand-in at Renault after the industrial star's arrest in Japan, said in a video to shareholders.

The shareholding structure among Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi, which was brought into the alliance in 2016, has become a source of tension alongside the removal of Ghosn, with Nissan unhappy with what it sees as a junior partner status.

Renault owns 43.4% of Nissan, while Nissan has only a 15% nonvoting share in Renault. Yet Nissan is 60% bigger than the French car maker by sales.

The relationship is further complicated by the role of the French state, which holds 15% of Renault and enjoys double-voting rights.

Ghosn and former Nissan representative director Greg Kelly are being investigated over alleged conspiracy to understate Ghosn's compensation over five years from fiscal 2010 by about half of the actual ¥9.998bn.

On Friday, the Asahi newspaper reported that Japanese prosecutors are likely to build a new criminal case against Ghosn for understating his remuneration by ¥3bn ($27m) over three years from fiscal 2015.

In the wake of Ghosn's spectacular downfall, French and Japanese government ministers have reaffirmed support for the Renault-Nissan alliance, which was enlarged to include Mitsubishi in 2016.

"Our group is perfectly organised to ensure the continuity of the company's business," Bollore said.

Reuters