At the same time, if Saikawa and his Nissan cohorts were truly bent on deposing Ghosn to prevent a merger, wouldn’t that have been one heck of a gamble?
Ghosn spent two decades knitting Renault and Nissan together at a sometimes painstakingly slow pace, largely out of concern for the sensibilities on both sides. Without his patronage and protection, some would say, Nissan would have been gobbled up by Renault all the sooner.
Any coup plotter would see Ghosn’s potential successor as a complete wild card without such sympathies or connections. Could the rebel leader be so sure that whoever followed Ghosn wouldn’t finally, forcefully bring Nissan to heel as willed by Renault’s top shareholder, the French government?
As it turns out, Ghosn’s successor is an outsider. Renault’s new chairman, Jean-Dominique Senard, was poached from tire maker Michelin. So far, he has epitomized cross-company diplomacy, even agreeing not to seek the chairmanship of Nissan, a position long held by Ghosn.
In that sense, Saikawa got some of what he is said to have wanted. But the world still eagerly awaits Ghosn’s side of this sordid affair to fully assess the rest of the story.