By on September 3, 2019

Former Renault-Nissan Alliance director Arnaud Deboeuf is leaving Renault to chase sunnier pursuits at French rival PSA. It’s no secret that the relationship between Nissan and Renault has become severely strained, however, Deboeuf’s departure throws more light on how personal issues are impacting the broader business. He effectively blamed Renault CEO Thierry Bolloré for his leaving the alliance.

“Thierry Bolloré told me no one wanted to work with me … and that I could not go to work at Nissan either,” Deboeuf explained in a final letter to his colleges. 

The note, seen by Reuters, seems to validate whispers that Deboeuf found himself at odds with Bolloré following the 2018 arrest of former Chairman Carlos Ghosn over accusations of financial misconduct. In his absence, Deboeuf became the most senior alliance executive. According to reports, Bolloré wanted him out as numerous alliance departments were closed. Unfortunately, it was made clear to Deboeuf that heading over to Nissan was not an option — despite the Japanese automaker offering him an executive role within the company earlier this year.

He will still have a job, however. PSA confirmed his role as the industrial strategy director under Chief Executive Carlos Tavares earlier this week. Tavares served as the chief operating officer for Renault until 2013. At the time, it was rumored he had a minor falling out with Ghosn — who always seems to be at the center of everything — after suggesting he’d like to head an automaker.

Both Bolloré and Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa are former proteges of Ghosn. In his absence, the two companies have grown uneasy with each other. Leadership is said to be on the cusp of a total communications breakdown. Renault has hoped to solidify the alliance via a full merger with Nissan, a move backed by Renault Chairman Jean-Dominique Senard, but that hasn’t gone over well in Japan. Saikawa and company want more autonomy, not less.

From Reuters:

Since FCA deal talks collapsed in June, Nissan has pressed Renault to cut its 43.4 [percent] stake in the Japanese carmaker as the price of its support for a revived FCA tie-up.

Renault is refusing to consider cutting its holding below a 33 [percent] blocking minority, and no agreement is yet in sight, according to two people closely following Renault-Nissan talks on the future of the alliance.

One option being discussed is a smaller immediate stake cut and an agreed mechanism to deliver a deeper reduction in future, if key milestones are met, one of the sources told Reuters.

 

[Image: Gilles Lougassi/Shutterstock]

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