Photo/IllutrationRenault Chairman Jean-Dominique Senard and Nissan President Hiroto Saikawa hold a news conference at Nissan’s head office in Yokohama on March 12. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

Tensions are growing between Nissan Motor Co. and Renault over the French automaker’s plans for management integration in the post-Carlos Ghosn alliance.

Nissan President Hiroto Saikawa earlier this month learned that Renault Chairman Jean-Dominique Senard, who is also a board member of the Japanese carmaker, intends to integrate the management of the two companies.

One idea being floated by Renault is establishing a holding company that will manage the two automakers as subsidiaries.

Top executives of Nissan, Renault and Mitsubishi Motors Co., another alliance partner, held a meeting in Yokohama on March 12.

In a news conference held after the meeting, Senard acknowledged Nissan’s desire to maintain its independence from Renault.

“I will respect the new governance of Nissan,” Senard said.

At Nissan’s extraordinary shareholders’ meeting held on April 8, the automaker cut all ties with Ghosn, the former chairman who has been arrested four times over suspected financial improprieties and aggravated breach of trust.

At the same meeting, Senard became a board member of Nissan and started taking part in discussions about the automaker’s new management.

But on April 22, Nissan officials confirmed that Senard was seeking management integration.

“I was not surprised,” a Nissan executive said of Senard’s plan. “Previously, he was taking a quiet stance. But now, he has bared his fangs.”

A dominant view among Nissan employees is that the management integration plan is being pushed by the French government, which holds a 15-percent stake in Renault.

The French government has been considering this move since the days when Ghosn was leading the triple alliance.

Nissan plans to reject Renault’s proposal.

“What’s most important is Nissan’s future,” Saikawa told reporters on the morning of April 23. “The question is how we should use the alliance for our future, not how we should be used by the alliance.”

Later in the day, Saikawa told a meeting of Nissan’s board of directors that the company is not commenting to the media about the management integration proposal.

Senard, who participated in the meeting through videoconferencing, showed an understanding to Saikawa’s remark, and management integration was not discussed.

“(Participants in the meeting) apparently avoided stirring up the issue,” a Nissan executive said.

On the same day, Nissan announced its new executive lineup, including the promotion of chief competitive officer Yasuhiro Yamauchi to chief operating officer, the No. 2 post, effective on May 16.

Daniele Schillaci, the executive vice president in charge of Asia and Oceania, including Japan, will retire on May 15. His retirement is related to family matters and not Ghosn, Nissan said.