By on October 11, 2019

Renault’s board of directors met today to decide the fate of CEO Thierry Bolloré. Though we should say ex-CEO, because they fired him.

As the most recent executive to become subject to the management shakeup that’s bent on removing anyone within the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance with ties to defamed founder Carlos Ghosn, Bolloré called the board’s decision surprising (it wasn’t). Speaking with France’s Les Échoshe contended that he was more concerned with the wellbeing of Renault than corporate politics and expressed fears that the alliance could be falling apart as Japan aggressively seeks to remove more Ghosn-era hires.

“I appeal to the highest level of the State shareholder, guarantor of the rules of good governance, not to destabilize Renault, flagship of our French industry,” he said. “This coup is very disturbing, it is very important to understand the ins and outs of what is happening in Japan.”

Bolloré was selected by Ghosn as his apparent successor and, after doing time as the Renault’s COO, ended up being appointed as CEO just two months after Ghosn’s arrest in November of 2018. While there have been no formal accusations leveled against Bolloré, other high-ranking alliance members have become wrapped up in the scandal — including former Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa.

According to Bolloré, his ties to that group are the only items Renault could possibly hold against him — noting that the board had unanimously endorsed his placement as COO. He also addressed rumors that Renault’s chairman, Jean-Dominique Senard, had aggressively been pressing for the ouster and was never liked him.

“I boarded a plane in Tokyo on Tuesday night and landing at 4 am in Paris on Wednesday. I learned through the press that President Jean-Dominique Senard, who until then had been saying there was not a sheet of cigarette paper between us, wanted me to leave,” Bolloré recalled. “I have always been loyal to him.”

Insider sources have confirmed Senard’s disdain was legitimate, adding that some of the company’s top brass also blamed Bolloré for declines in Renault’s financial performance. The man himself said that was ridiculous.

“This is all the more inexplicable because Renault is one of the very few car manufacturers that has not made a profit warning despite the sectoral crisis we are facing. We have anticipated on the electric vehicle [front] and will not pay penalties related to the new [emission] standards. Despite the shocks that have weakened our alliance with Nissan since last November, we have entered into strategic partnerships with Google and Waymo. And on the industrial front, Daimler-Mercedes also continues to trust us,” he said.

Renault has decided to tap Clotilde Delbos as its chief executive officer until a suitable replacement can be found. She’ll be assisted by Olivier Murguet and José-Vicente de los Mozos, who will serve as deputy directors. Of the three, Delbos is the newest to both Renault and the automotive industry. She joined the company in 2012, coming from a background in industrial finance, and will continue serving as the automaker’s chief financial officer while taking over for Bolloré.

 

[Image: josefkubes/Shutterstock]

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9 Comments on “Corporate Coup? Renault Officially Needs a New CEO...”


  • avatar
    NoID

    Seems to me like there needs to be a coup within the editorial staff here at TTAC.

    Pardon me, I need to go disdain my shirt.

    • 0 avatar
      Detroit-X

      I agree. I grew up in America; I know real names when I see them. Look at all these made up names and words in this story. It’s very distracting. If these are meant to be real names, or real words, then they are misspelled, at best…

      I vaguely have heard of this one: Carlos

      But look at all these: Ghosn, Bolloré Échos, Hiroto Saikawa Renault Dominique Senard Google Waymo Clotilde Delbos Murguet José-Vicente de los Mozos (on this last one, you can add as many dash-marks as you want, still, nobody can pronounce it)

      Mirth off.
      Time for coffee.

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    Can this alliance be saved? I don’t think so. The Japanese criminal case against Ghosn seems to have destabilized both Nissan and Renault.

    I suspect the end game is a Japanese government takeover of Nissan, paying off the shares held by Renault and the French government, to allow Nissan to become a purely Japanese Nissan-Mitsubishi company again.

    The Japanese government simply won’t allow Nissan to be merged into a French company with French government influence, and that was the ultimate aim of Ghosn and Renault.

    • 0 avatar

      Unlikely. Japanese Government has sovereign debt double of GDP in size. They are not in condition allowing mindlessly wasting money on failed enterprise.

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        Japan somehow found the money to build “helicopter destroyers” which are Essex-class sized aircraft carriers if loaded with the F-35B VSTOL fighter.

        It so happens they have the money to buy the F-35B, and plan on putting them on their stealth flattops.

        National security concerns trump debt concerns, and losing control of a major industrial manufacturer to a French company part owned by the French government would qualify.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    @Lorenzo–Agree. The Japanese Government should take over Nissan and reach a settlement with Renault to repurchase their Nissan shares and to sell back to Renault any Renault shares that Nissan holds. A new company formed from a merger of Nissan-Mitsubishi would be better. The French are known for their bad weirdly styled vehicles and bad cigarettes. Get the new company on its feet and then privize it as a Japanese company.

    • 0 avatar

      The problem is that Japanese taxpayers have to foot the bill when Japanese economy is on brink of collapse, They can hardly afford any more debt.

      P.S. And yeah, home prices will never go down and housing market is a backbone of American economy and will never collapse. And big banks will never fail either. How that turned out?

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    This is a slow moving train wreck.

    I sincerely don’t know what will happen in the future, but my guess (and it is only a wild guess) is that both Renault and Nissan will be forcibly merged with another company.

    The former with PSA, the latter with Toyota or Honda.


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