Executives from Nissan Motor Co Ltd and Mitsubishi Motors Corp are exiting as part of a wider shuffle among the top ranks of the Japanese automakers' alliance with Renault SA following the arrest of Carlos Ghosn in November.
Nissan, along with partners Renault and Mitsubishi Motors, this week announced a major retooling of their alliance through the creation of a three-way board meeting to put themselves on a more equal footing.
The three companies said Jean-Dominique Senard, the chairman of Renault, would serve as the head of the alliance but - in a critical sign of the rebalancing - he will not be chairman of Nissan.
As Renault now owns 44 per cent of Nissan's voting stock, it is legally capable of nominating whoever it wants to the role of chairman.
Nissan has tasked an external committee with helping to improve corporate governance after the arrest and ouster of Ghosn, who faces charges of financial misconduct including understating his compensation by about ¥9 billion over almost a decade. He also said he would not be chairman at Nissan but vice chairman.
Former Nissan chairman Ghosn was released on a $9 million bail last week after spending more than 100 days in a Tokyo detention centre.
He is also only allowed restricted access to the use of mobile phones and computers under his bail agreement. The court apparently saw his coming in contact with other Nissan officials as a risk.
"Mr Ghosn wants to have some time to mull over what he's going to say", Junichiro Hironaka told reporters outside his Tokyo office after meeting with Ghosn throughout the day.
"Our future lies in the efficiency of this alliance", he said after a board meeting at Nissan's headquarters in Yokohama.
The Tokyo District Court on Monday declined to temporarily suspend a condition of Ghosn's bail that stops him from meeting people linked to his case, blocking what would have been a dramatic face off between the once-feted executive and the colleagues he has accused of fomenting a coup. This has always been an issue for Nissan executives, who believe the larger Japanese automaker shouldn't be controlled by the small European brand.
Under the new body unveiled Tuesday, the four-member board said the fundamental ownership structure, however, would remain the same.
In a complicated management structure, Renault - itself 15 per cent held by the French state - owns a 43 per cent stake in Nissan.
Nissan has no voting rights as far as Renault is concerned.
Senard cemented this idea saying he had no desire to be Nissan's chairman, but would instead be an "natural candidate" for vice chair.