Didn’t Senard rock the boat by proposing a merger between Renault and Nissan?
A simple merger doesn’t work. But maybe from Renault’s viewpoint, it could be different.
Mr. Senard’s viewpoint is that total asset management could be done better, more from the balance-sheet viewpoint. From a financial viewpoint, maybe it makes sense.
But I told him, from an operational viewpoint, it may hurt the momentum of growth of Renault or Nissan. My view is that it is not very productive to go for a merger or holding company structure.
But he understood that, given Nissan’s situation, Nissan wasn’t even ready to talk about it. It was better for us to focus on recovery, and so we didn’t go deeper in that discussion. I said, let us focus on recovery of performance first. We can talk about that later. This is what we concluded.
At the same time, Renault discussed a tie-up with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. How long had that been considered?
After [FCA CEO Sergio] Marchionne passed away, we saw that FCA couldn’t survive by themselves. From my viewpoint, if they would come knocking on the door of Renault and Nissan, it could be challenging, but there is an opportunity for us to open the door and expand the alliance.
I’m not talking about a merger, but as a partner.
We have to be cautious. If you go from two partners to three partners, it makes things complicated. You have to count whether there is more synergy and opportunity — or more mess-ups with the operations. What are the positives and negatives? My position about expanding the alliance is that it is challenging but it might make sense. So I was open to the opportunity.
I shared my view with Mr. Ghosn. But nothing happened, as far as I know.
But when the FCA-Renault issue happened in May of this year, they were talking about a “merger.” This is a different story.
As Nissan, we have a shareholder and contractual relationship with Renault. And that entity would be changing to a different size and configuration.
Before talking about the opportunity, we need to be sure how Nissan would be treated and secured as an equal partner. That was our position — more information and how to secure Nissan’s position.
How do you rate Nissan’s board leadership after your departure?
The October and November board meetings worked well, along with the nomination committee, and they are making good decisions to nominate a new generation of leaders. And they also decided to change some of the executive committee members from this month. Those steps, I think, are the right ones.
The real governance work in October and November took steps to put the company back on the right path. Now, the generation change recovery is done.