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Macron, who surged to victory in elections last year to became France’s youngest president, now finds himself battling street protests and record low approval ratings. The Renault-Nissan crisis may draw more attention to the risks of his bold interventionism, once seen as refreshing. The year before his move on Renault, the government under Socialist President Francois Hollande had passed the Florange law. Named after a steel furnace whose closure became a symbol of decline, it doubled voting rights for long-term investors – chief among them the French state – in any listed companies that did not opt out via a shareholder vote cool cufflinks uk sale.

Over several months starting in late 2014, Macron, a former Rothschild dealmaker, tried in vain to dissuade Ghosn and the Renault board from proposing an opt-out at the company’s April 30 general meeting cool cufflinks uk sale. With a 15 percent stake in the carmaker and an only slightly larger share of the vote, the government seemed likely to lose such a face-off. Then, on the evening of April 7, Macron called Ghosn to let him know – as a courtesy – that the state had bought another 4.73 percent of Renault for 1.2 billion euros ($1.4 billion), would announce its maneuver in the morning and planned to sell back down to 15 percent only after defeating his opt-out..

“He would always go in with guns blazing,” a former minister said of Macron. “Only then would the real power dynamics of the situation register.” cool cufflinks uk sale. With that step, seen by detractors and admirers alike as an unprecedented government “raid”, the simmering battle of egos between Ghosn the global CEO and Macron the wunderkind banker-turned-minister had burst into the open. Brushing aside warnings, Macron pressed ahead and defeated the opt-out. The vote handed France an effective blocking minority at Renault, which in turn controlled Nissan shareholder meetings via its 43.4 percent stake in the Japanese firm..

Alarm bells rang in Tokyo as that sank in, ratcheting tensions higher over the months that followed. Nissan threatened to exit the Restated Alliance Master Agreement (RAMA) – a radical step that would have freed it to buy up shares in its smaller French parent, and end or reverse Renault’s control. “The governance of Renault and consequently the autonomy of Renault management, which have been the basis of trust (for) the alliance, will be significantly impacted,” Saikawa wrote in a Sept. 3, 2015, note to the Renault board obtained by Reuters cool cufflinks uk sale.

A Nissan spokesman declined to comment for this story. Macron’s staff initially dismissed Saikawa’s demands – that Renault sell down its controlling Nissan stake, restore voting rights to Nissan’s 15 percent Renault holding and relinquish control of the alliance – seeing them as dictated by Ghosn, who at that point remained Nissan CEO. “When Ghosn talks about what Nissan and Japan think, he’s speaking for himself,” an official at the French agency that oversees state shareholdings said at the time. “It’s all rubbish as far as I’m concerned.” cool cufflinks uk sale.