Renault CEO Bollore may be ousted, reports say

Europe

Renault CEO Thierry Bollore’s future is in doubt amid strained relations with alliance partner Nissan, two French newspapers reported.

Renault Chairman Jean-Dominique Senard will ask the automaker’s board to look for a successor to Bollore, Le Figaro said, citing unnamed sources.

The search for Bollore’s successor could be on the agenda of Renault’s next board meeting on Oct. 18, the paper said.

Bollore was a close ally of former Renault Chairman and CEO Carlos Ghosn. He expressed support for Ghosn after his former boss was arrested in Japan for alleged financial crimes last November, angering Nissan.

Nissan has little confidence in Bollore and his relations with Senard are no more than cordial, Les Echos, another French newspaper, reported.

Some at Renault are questioning why Bollore, as a protege of Ghosn, remains at the helm of the automaker while other Ghosn confidants have left or been forced out, Les Echos said.

The newspaper also noted that Senard’s mandate is to strengthen the alliance and “clean house” at Renault.

Bollore’s immediate condemnation of Ghosn’s arrest as a conspiracy orchestrated by Nissan made rapprochement with the Japanese automaker more difficult, the paper said.

The recent departures of a number of top Renault executives, many to rival PSA Group, is also seen as evidence of dissatisfaction with Bollore.

Among them were former sales and marketing chief Thierry Koskas, and company veteran Arnaud Deboeuf, who last month quit the automaker to join PSA as industrial strategy director. Deboeuf blamed Bollore for forcing his exit, Reuters reported at the time.

Bollore is a relative newcomer to Renault. After a career that included stints at French suppliers Michelin and Faurecia, he joined the automaker as manufacturing and supply chain chief in 2012. 

He rose rapidly under Ghosn, becoming chief competitiveness officer in 2013 and Ghosn’s No 2 in the role of chief operating officer in 2018.

Bollore replaced Ghosn as CEO in January when Senard, Michelin’s former chairman, was named Renault chairman.

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