Bollore raised concerns of governance problems at Nissan, claims report

Bollore raised concerns of governance problems at Nissan, claims report
Thierry Bollore was pushed out as Renault’s CEO in October. He claimed that some Nissan board members were sometimes kept in the dark on internal matters. (AFP/File)
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Updated 16 December 2019

Bollore raised concerns of governance problems at Nissan, claims report

Bollore raised concerns of governance problems at Nissan, claims report
  • Nissan and Renault were left reeling by Ghosn’s arrest in Tokyo a year ago, on financial misconduct charges which he denies

PARIS: Renault’s former CEO Thierry Bollore, who was ousted in October, had sought to flag alleged conflicts of interest and governance problems at the company’s Japanese alliance partner Nissan before his departure, Le Monde reported on Monday.

Citing a letter from Oct. 7 addressed to Nissan’s board, of which he was member, France’s Le Monde newspaper said Bollore had raised questions over the firm’s internal investigation surrounding former alliance boss Carlos Ghosn.

Nissan and Renault were left reeling by Ghosn’s arrest in Tokyo a year ago, on financial misconduct charges which he denies. They have since tried to reboot their strained partnership by revamping their management teams, including by purging them of Ghosn allies and removing people in top jobs at the time of the scandal.

Bollore — who took a step up at the French carmaker when Ghosn left even though he was known for his close ties to the alliance founder — was eventually pushed out as Renault’s CEO on Oct. 11, days after penning his letter.

In comments sent to Reuters, Nissan spokeswoman Azusa Momose denied there were any irregularities in its internal investigation of Ghosn’s affairs, and added that the company had reviewed its processes once again following Bollore’s letter.

“Nissan’s independent directors confirmed that the investigation was properly conducted and could be relied on,” Momose said.

Nissan directors had discussed all the allegations raised by Bollore and the company “concluded that Bollore’s concerns were not founded and were based for the most part on inaccurate information and speculation,” she added.

Bollore said in the letter that he was particularly concerned by the revelation that Nissan had a list of 80 managers implicated in financial dealings similar to the ones attributed to Ghosn.

He also raised issues with the chain of command at Nissan, saying some key board members were sometimes kept in the dark on internal matters.

Renault, which is still searching for a permanent replacement for Bollore as CEO, had no immediate comment. As well as changing its CEO, Nissan recently demoted senior vice president Hari Nada — a key whistleblower against Ghosn and whose role was also questioned in Bollore’s letter — although its internal investigation had found no evidence against the executive. 

Meanwhile, Nissan’s new boss said a top priority was to restore trust after the scandal.

In his first foreign media interview since taking office on Dec. 1, Makoto Uchida said on Thursday he wanted everything laid bare “without hiding,” as he seeks to regain credibility and sales for the once-mighty auto giant.

“The difficulties of the past may have sometimes left people insecure in terms of what they are doing. So it is my job to go back to the basics,” said the new boss, in a clear reference to the scandal.

Uchida said he wanted everyone in the three-way alliance to “respect each other ... understand each other ... be transparent and put any problem or issue on the table.”


Careem welcomes Saudization of ride-hailing sector, eyes further investment

Careem welcomes Saudization of ride-hailing sector, eyes further investment
Updated 16 January 2021

Careem welcomes Saudization of ride-hailing sector, eyes further investment

Careem welcomes Saudization of ride-hailing sector, eyes further investment
  • Careem said the company had been affected by the pandemic because workers stayed at home and cut down on their travel

DUBAI: Ride-hailing service Careem has welcomed a government decision to fully localize the sector in the Kingdom, saying the move will help to create more jobs for Saudi drivers.

The Saudi Ministry of Transport said the new rule would have limited impact as citizens already made up 96 percent of the workforce in the ride-hailing sector.

“We are proud that over 100,000 Saudi nationals are finding income-earning opportunities with Careem each month,” a Careem spokesperson told Arab News. “We’ve worked hand-in-hand with the Transport General Authority and Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development to help the Kingdom achieve its ambitious agenda, and applaud the efforts the government is making to support Saudis working in the ride-hailing sector.”

The spokesperson added that Careem planned to continue investing in the Kingdom with a greater range of transportation and delivery services. 

Although Careem did not give specific numbers for its operations in Saudi Arabia, it said it had 33 million registered users in 13 countries across the region and operated in 28 Saudi cities.

Ibrahim Manna, managing director of global markets at Careem, said the company had been affected by the pandemic because workers stayed at home and cut down on their travel.

“COVID-19 has impacted our ride-hailing, starting in March,” he told Arab News. “This is a natural result of lockdowns, curfews and other limitations of movement, changing user behavior and habits in daily life.”

But while the ride-hailing service decreased, food delivery demand soared.

“Delivery was one of the big growth levers,” he added. “Due to the change in the daily lives and needs of the customer, we adapted quickly and provided them with what they needed most. We partnered up with many stores, pharmacies and restaurants, in order to deliver essentials to citizens in Saudi Arabia during a difficult time.”

On Thursday Mueed Al Saeed, assisting vice president of Land Transport Regulation of the Public Transport Authority, said there were 16 companies including Careem licensed to operate ride-hailing services in the Kingdom.

He also said 300 million trips had been carried out during the past three years, and that there were 250,000 drivers actively working for these services.