By Toby Sterling
AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – Renault <RENA.PA> and Nissan <7201.T> “emphatically reiterated” their commitment to one another on Thursday as executives gathered for talks likely to address the future of the alliance, rocked by the arrest of Chairman Carlos Ghosn.
Senior managers from the two companies and Nissan-controlled Mitsubishi Motors <7211.T> were seen arriving at alliance offices in Amsterdam around 6 a.m (0500 GMT).
They avoided questions from waiting reporters as they entered the building via an underground parking lot.
“Over the past few days, the boards … emphatically reiterated their strong commitment to the alliance,” the three companies said in a joint statement as the meetings began.
“The mood is collaborative,” an alliance executive told Reuters. “People are focused on the business and moving forward.”
The crisis unleashed by Ghosn’s arrest has nonetheless deepened as Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa seeks to end Renault’s control of the alliance. Ghosn was swiftly ousted as Nissan chairman but remains at the helm of Renault.
Saikawa stayed away from the Amsterdam meetings, instead joining by video link, company officials said, while his Chief Planning Officer Philippe Klein attended in person. Renault deputy CEO Thierry Bollore, who has assumed Ghosn’s duties while he remains in custody, was not seen arriving.
Ghosn, 64, and alleged co-conspirator Greg Kelly, a fellow Nissan director, were arrested in Tokyo over financial misconduct allegations uncovered by a Nissan whistleblower probe. Both deny accusations that they under-reported Ghosn’s compensation, misrepresented Nissan investments and made personal use of company funds.
(Reporting by Toby Sterling; Additional reporting by Laurence Frost in Paris; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Mark Potter)