A new lease of life for Renault. The French automaker has recruited former boss of Seat (Volkswagen group) Luca de Meo as general manager, according to a decision taken Tuesday, January 28 by the board of directors.
The 52-year-old Italian will take office on July 1. Bound to Volkswagen by a non-compete clause, he was unable to take office earlier.
Chief Financial Officer Clotilde Delbos, who has been acting interim executive director since October, has also been appointed deputy chief executive officer, also effective July 1.
Large projects await Luca de Meo, a multilingual and perfectly French-speaking manager. The president of the board of directors Jean-Dominique Senard is counting on him to breathe new life into a business shaken by the upheavals of the Carlos Ghosn affair, the former boss of the group who arrived clandestinely in late December in Lebanon to flee Japanese justice. who was to judge him for various embezzlement.
"I am delighted with this new governance which marks a decisive step for the group and the Alliance. Mr. Luca de Meo is a great strategist and visionary of a rapidly changing automotive world", said Jean-Dominique Senard, quoted in a press release from Renault. "His expertise, but also his passion for the automobile make him a real asset for the group."
Luca de Meo, a marketing expert who has spent his entire career in the automotive industry, straightened Seat, which he took over in 2015 after driving sales for the German manufacturer Audi. The Spanish brand, dying four years ago, broke a historic sales record last year.
The administrators of Renault had decided in October to dismiss from office the general manager Thierry Bolloré, whose performance and style of management, deemed authoritarian, were questioned.
Luca de Meo will notably have to turn around the activity of the diamond brand in Europe, which must move upmarket to stand out more from its Romanian "low-cost" subsidiary Dacia.
Renault at worst on the stock market
Renault is at worst on the stock market. The share has lost more than half its value since the arrest of Carlos Ghosn in November 2018, a sign of investor mistrust after a year of crisis between the French manufacturer and its ally Nissan.
Jean-Dominique Senard, who took control of Renault in the midst of a storm last year, is trying to convince that a refoundation of the Franco-Japanese partnership is underway while the rumor of a possible divorce has circulated.
The health of cooperation with Nissan, of which Renault owns 44% and which in turn holds 15% of Renault, is considered crucial for the French manufacturer's ability to cope with the technological upheavals underway in the automotive industry.
Alliance meeting Thursday
With Mitsubishi, of which Nissan owns 34%, the Franco-Japanese alliance rose to third place in the world for car manufacturers by the volumes sold, behind the German Volkswagen and the Japanese Toyota, but with a much lower profitability, fault so far sufficient synergies.
A meeting of the leaders of the alliance is scheduled for Thursday at the headquarters of the Japanese manufacturer in Yokohama. Decisions are expected on concrete projects such as the development of joint vehicles.
"The appointment of Luca de Meo is excellent news," responded French Minister of Economy Bruno Le Maire on Tuesday evening. "With this appointment and that of a new management team at Nissan at the end of last year, as well as the upcoming announcement of new industrial projects between Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi, the Alliance is now relaunched in a conquering logic", he estimated.
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