A reshuffle at the head of Renault is on the table



PARIS (Reuters) – A reshuffle at the head of Renault is on the table, a source in the French state told Reuters on Wednesday after an article by Le Figaro referring to a plan to replace the managing director Thierry Bolloré.

"Indeed the question of going after the renewal of management arises," said this source. "Obviously, since it came out in the press, reflections are in progress, but, again, nothing is decided, it is up to Renault's governance to make a decision."

The French State is Renault's largest shareholder with 15% of the capital.

On the sidelines of a meeting with its euro-zone counterparts in Luxembourg, Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire said he, for his part, trusted Jean-Dominique Senard and Renault's board of directors to choose the better governance and the leaders in charge of implementing the industrial strategy defined with the State.

Le Figaro reported that Renault's president, Jean-Dominique Senard, was going to propose to the board of directors to find a successor to his number two.

According to the newspaper, citing concordant sources, the subject could, "with the approval of the state shareholder", be put on the agenda at the next meeting of the council, long-scheduled for October 18.

A Renault spokeswoman declined to comment, as did a spokeswoman for Bercy. A source close to the manufacturer said that to date, no process to search for a new number two was officially launched.


Jean-Dominique Senard must arrive in the evening in France. He is returning from Japan, where an important board of the Nissan partner was held the day before.

The prospect of a change at the head of Renault has indeed been mentioned just after Nissan has chosen a new direction to try to turn the page Carlos Ghosn, turn around its business and breathe new life into its alliance with Renault.

Makoto Uchida will become General Manager and Ashwani Gupta will be Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Japanese group from January 1st, a choice hailed by Renault and the French government.

The same source in the French state stressed that the fate of Thierry Bolloré did not constitute a counterpart to the choice of leaders of Nissan.

Still shocked by the arrest in Japan of his strong man, the diamond group had named Thierry Bolloré at the end of January as the new CEO to maintain, alongside the new president Jean-Dominique Senard the operational red thread he had been performing since early 2018.

The board of directors then also set a mission for Jean-Dominique Senard to restore confidence with Nissan and give the diamond group a new governance. But, as the Figaro recalls, the State estimates for several months that this second site is too late.

Thierry Bolloré remains associated with the Ghosn years, since he has long been the right arm of the fallen CEO. He also failed to stem the repeated departures of senior executives, many of whom left for competitor PSA.

"Sometimes you have to know how to change the people who have been there for a long time," said another source, familiar with the state's vision of the issue.

According to Le Figaro, the decision to initiate this new phase was discussed between the president of Renault and government officials several times during the summer, then again in Bercy and Matignon in recent days.

The newspaper adds that a headhunter will soon be appointed and that the search should be directed towards a French automotive professional.

(Gilles Guillaume and Michel Rose in Paris, Francesco Guarascio in Luxembourg, edited by Jean-Philippe Lefief and Jean-Michel Bélot)

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