Jean-Dominique Senard criticizes the management of the Renault – Nissan Alliance under Ghosn’s mandate and defends its management.
A year and “not too many regrets”… The president of Renault and the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, Jean-Dominique Senard, outlined a summary of his first year at the head of the automobile giant, Thursday 16 January, during a meeting with the Association of Economic and Financial Journalists. On this occasion, the former boss of Michelin, appointed on January 24, 2019 in the storm caused, two months earlier, by the arrest of Carlos Ghosn in Japan for financial embezzlement, mainly responded to the recent attacks which directly affected him. or indirectly targeted.
Mr. Senard’s first salvo consisted of a subtle but undeniable demolition of the functioning of the Alliance as designed by Mr. Ghosn. This was a response to criticism of the ousted boss, now a fugitive in Lebanon, since he evaded Japanese justice at the end of 2019. Carlos Ghosn had declared, during a press conference, on January 8, that the Alliance had become “a masquerade” and that the consensus approach advocated by Mr. Senard was a dead end. “I can tell you that consensus does not work. You have to force people to have synergies,” he said.
In return, Jean-Dominique Senard has, in a barely diverted manner, questioned the tangible reality of Franco-Japanese cooperation, and in particular the synergy data put forward by Mr. Ghosn when he led the Alliance, and which would have reached 5.7 billion euros in 2017. Mr. Senard said he was unable to confirm a figure “supported by robust reasoning and shared calculations”.
“I hate to tell anything,” he insisted. You have not heard me speak of this synergy figure because, for the moment, I do not understand it and I do not master it. I did not create the operational council of the Alliance to put irresponsible people in it. When CEOs speak on this topic, they should be able to demonstrate what they are saying. “In other words, under the previous regime, it was not necessarily the case. This does not prevent Mr. Senard from believing in the resources of the Alliance in this area which, in his opinion, are “considerable”. And to specify: “80% of the potential is in front of us, not behind.”
It is overall a lack of efficiency of the company under the Ghosn era that the new boss portrays, evoking in particular Renault-Nissan BV, the subsidiary under Dutch law constituting at the time the nervous system of the Alliance – “An extraordinarily heavy and expensive structure”. Upon arrival, Mr. Senard said he had found “frustrations” at Nissan, Renault and Mitsubishi, “built over time, in a whole leaving the teams left to their own devices”. “In a slightly toxic way, we justified ourselves and we grew by opposing.”