Macron Win Worries Japanese Auto Firm

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French President-elect Emmanuel Macron has a rocky history with Carlos Ghosn, chief executive of Renault SA and chairman of two Japanese automakers, having clashed over government involvement in the management of the French firm.

Following Macron’s election victory on Sunday, some analysts speculated that if a rivalry grows between the new French leader and Ghosn it could affect Renault’s partnership involving Nissan Motor Co. and Mitsubishi Motors Corp., both chaired by Ghosn.

Speaking to journalists in February, Ghosn reportedly said the government, which held 19.74 percent of Renault as of the end of 2016, should release its shares, thereby strengthening the automaker’s capital alliance with Nissan.

Ghosn’s comments may reflect his dissatisfaction at government interference in the past.

Renault tried unsuccessfully to block a bid to double the weight of voting rights for those who possess shares for an extended period, including the French government, during a shareholders meeting in April 2015.

The government boosted its share holdings ahead of the meeting and forced a motion to reject the application of relevant legislation to be voted down, with Macron serving as economy minister at that time.

The move fuelled speculation that the government may be attempting more active involvement in the management of Nissan, with which Renault established a business alliance in 1999.

Later 2015 Nissan announced that the Japanese and French automakers as well as the French government had agreed to ensure the operating autonomy of Nissan.

Representing the French government as Renault’s most influential shareholder, Macron lashed out at Ghosn for receiving such high compensation as head of Renault and threatened to take a legal action during a parliamentary session in May last year.

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