French economy minister Emmanuel Macron has challenged Carlos Ghosn, the chief executive of car makers Renault and Nissan, who is advocating an overhaul of the cross-shareholdings that underpin the Franco-Japanese alliance to give more power to Nissan
“He is CEO, not shareholder,” Macron said about Ghosn, according to French newspaper Les Echos.
The priority is not to change the alliance’s corporate governance, but to focus on the industrial success of the two companies, Macron said, according to the paper.
The Nissan board, which is chaired by Ghosn, is considering increasing the Japanese car maker’s stake in Renault to balance voting power within the alliance and limit the French government’s influence.
Earlier this year Paris raised its stake in Renault to almost 20% from 15% to benefit from a newly passed French law that doubled the voting rights of the state and other “long-term” investors.
Macron said at the time that the government would immediately sell the additional stake, but adverse market conditions had led officials to change their mind. Macron was quoted by the newspaper as saying the government may sell the stake next year.
A discussion document was circulated among board members suggesting that Renault lowered its 43.4% stake in the Japanese car maker, while Nissan raised its 15% stake in the French one.