Boulogne-Billancourt (dpa) - Former Seat CEO Luca de Meo is supposed to lead Renault out of the crisis. However, the Italian automaker will only take over as General Manager from July 1, the French automaker reported after a short-term meeting of the Board.
The scandal surrounding former CEO Carlos Ghosn had shaken Renault - the traditional manufacturer is still looking for a new beginning.
The 52-year-old De Meo had resigned from the Volkswagen subsidiary Seat at the beginning of the month. He had been the boss there since November 2015. Renault President Jean-Dominique Senard called him "a great strategist and visionary of an automotive world that is in the process of complete change".
"The appointment of Luca de Meo is excellent news," said French Economics and Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire in the evening. The change of management at the Japanese Renault partner Nissan will also ensure a “new dynamic” and a success for the two companies. The French state holds 15 percent of Renault's shares and pulls the strings in the background.
De Meo will succeed the French manufacturer, interim chief Clotilde Delbos. Delbos' predecessor Thierry Bolloré was fired last October. The general manager is responsible for the operational business at Renault. According to media reports, De Meo cannot start earlier at Renault due to contractual ties with his former employer.
President Senard is responsible for the international auto alliance with Nissan and Mitsubishi. According to industry figures from 2018, the alliance ranked third in sales worldwide behind Volkswagen and Toyota.
After Ghosn's arrest in Japan in November 2018, Renault was in a serious leadership crisis. The manufacturer wants to strengthen the alliance with the Japanese manufacturers Nissan and Mitsubishi - the alliance also suffered significantly from the turbulence.
Ghosn was accused of violating stock exchange requirements in Japan. Since then, he has been charged several times for further alleged offenses and has been bailed again. The once dazzling top manager had fled from Japan shortly before the turn of the year under circumstances that were not entirely clear until now and is in the Lebanese capital Beirut.
De Meo will be the first foreigner to be at the wheel in Renault's 100-year history, the AFP news agency reported. Ghosn, who was born in Brazil, was naturalized in France before moving to the top of Renault in 2005. De Meo is therefore fluent in French. According to Renault, Delbos is to become Vice Director General from July 1.
Renault is considered a very difficult company. Senard, former boss of the tire manufacturer Michelin, was called for help after Ghosn's withdrawal a year ago. Last June, an attempt to merge with the Italian-American automaker Fiat Chryler (FCA) failed. FCA will now merge with Peugeot manufacturer PSA.