Renault names new leaders

Renault names new leaders

The board of French carmaker Renault has named two new leaders to replace industry veteran Carlos Ghosn, who resigned after weeks of detention in Japan.

The board chose Jean-Dominique Senard, of Michelin, to be chairman and Renault executive Thierry Bollore as chief executive.

Mr Ghosn previously held both posts.

In a statement, the board expressed “its confidence in the new leadership” and wished it “every success in its mission”.

France’s finance minister Bruno le Maire had confirmed earlier Mr Ghosn formally handed in his resignation from his roles at Renault on Wednesday evening.

Mr Ghosn has been detained for more than two months in Japan, keeping him from fulfilling his duties at Renault.

The French government owns about 15% of Renault, making it an influential voice in its handling. And while Renault initially stood by Mr Ghosn after his November 19 arrest, the French government has pressed for him to be replaced.

“Our goal from the beginning of this case has always been to preserve Renault’s interests and consolidate the alliance between Renault and Nissan,” Mr Le Maire said. “The necessary decisions have been made.”

Mr Le Maire said Renault’s new chairman will work to consolidate the Renault-Nissan alliance, which had long been driven by Ghosn and now faces questions over its future.

Mr Senard had been at the helm of French tyre giant Michelin for almost seven years. He was recently described by Mr Le Maire as “a great industrialist” with a “social vision” of business.

Mr Bollore, who joined Renault in 2012, was appointed deputy chief executive officer of the group last November as part of the transitional leadership after Mr Ghosn’s arrest in Japan.

Mr Senard said he had two major priorities: to “propose new governance for the group” in the coming weeks and to ensure that the link between Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi “remains strong”.

Mr Ghosn denies Japanese allegations that he under-reported income as chairman of Nissan and falsified financial reports. The 64-year-old star executive led Nissan for two decades and was simultaneously chairman and chief executive of Renault since 2009.

Nissan’s chief executive Hiroto Saikawa welcomed Renault’s new leadership.

He told reporters at Nissan’s headquarters in Yokohama, south west of Tokyo: “This is a first step as we turn a page in the alliance.”

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