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Nissan, Renault, Mitsubishi are said to plan shift to one board

[TOKYO] Nissan Motor Co., Renault SA and Mitsubishi Motors Corp. plan to form a single board that will oversee their alliance's governance and operations, according to people familiar with the matter, as the automakers try to streamline their decision making following the arrest of Carlos Ghosn.

The group will replace two separate Amsterdam-based alliance entities, Renault-Nissan BV and Nissan-Mitsubishi BV, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information isn't public. Renault Chairman Jean-Dominique Senard will probably chair the new committee, one of the people said. Japan's Nikkei newspaper earlier reported on the plans for the new structure.

Spokesmen for Nissan and Mitsubishi declined to comment on the reported plan, while representatives for France-based Renault couldn't be reached outside normal business hours. The three automakers will hold a joint press conference on Tuesday at Nissan's headquarters in Yokohama, Japan.

Nissan's board plan to meet to discuss the matter as soon as Tuesday and an announcement could be made shortly after, the people said. Ghosn, released last week from a Tokyo detention center where he was incarcerated for more than 100 days, wants to attend that meeting as a board member, a person with knowledge of his intentions said. The Tokyo District Court will consider whether he'll be able to do so under the conditions of his bail.

The alliance plan is aimed at fostering more balanced decision-making represented by Senard, Nissan Chief Executive Officer Hiroto Saikawa and Mitsubishi Motors CEO Osamu Masuko. The current structure is seen as outdated and obscure in its functions, with the carmakers' own investigations having found that former Chairman Ghosn funneled money from the Dutch units. Ghosn has said the claims of improper payments were a "distortion of reality."

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