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Nissan to leave chairman post unfilled after ousting Ghosn

This March 12, 2019 photo shows the entrance to Nissan Motor Co.'s global headquarters in Yokohama. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Nissan Motor Co. plans not to appoint a new chairman to succeed ousted Carlos Ghosn for the time being and is considering tapping a former head of Japan's largest business lobby as chairman of its board, a source close to the matter said Wednesday.

Nissan is considering naming Sadayuki Sakakibara, former chairman of the Japan Business Federation and co-chair of a Nissan government committee, as the chief of the board.

The automaker has said it intends to appoint a new chairman based on proposals by the committee. Nissan set up the governing body to discuss steps to strengthen its governance after Ghosn was removed from the chairman post following his arrest on Nov. 19 for alleged financial misconduct.

The French government -- the largest shareholder in Nissan's partner Renault SA -- had sought to have new Renault Chairman Jean-Dominique Senard take the post to maintain influence over the Japanese company, people familiar with the matter said earlier.

Some Nissan officials, on the other hand, want to review the capital alliance to create a more balanced partnership, according to other sources. Renault holds a 43.4 percent stake in Nissan which owns a 15 percent stake in its French peer.

At a press conference on Tuesday, Senard said he will not seek to become Nissan chairman.

"I am a natural candidate to be a vice chairman with all the necessary allocated power linked to the job," he said.

Nissan appointed Senard as a new director subject to approval at an extraordinary shareholders' meeting on April 8. Ghosn was replaced as chairman and CEO of Renault by Senard and Thierry Bollore, respectively.

The governing committee is expected to propose that Nissan choose a majority of the board from outside directors.

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