Renault adapts management structure after COO exit

Renault has announced plans to appoint two new senior managers in charge of performance and competitiveness to replace Chief Operating Officer Carlos Tavares, who stepped down abruptly last week, Reuters reported.

Both new roles will report to Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn, Renault said on Tuesday, effectively splitting the job of the departing number two, who left after going public with his ambition to lead a United States carmaker.

The changes will “reinforce the industrial, sales and financial performance of the group”, Renault said in a statement, without identifying nominees.

The new management structure will be presented to a September 9 works council meeting, the French carmaker added.

The new chief competitiveness officer will assume management responsibility for design, product and programs, engineering, purchasing, manufacturing, supply chain, quality and IT services, Renault said.

His or her “performance” counterpart will oversee growth and commercial strategy.

Tavares, appointed in 2011 to head Renault’s day-to-day operations as Ghosn’s lieutenant, shocked colleagues by saying in an interview last month that he was seeking a CEO job elsewhere.

In an August 14 interview with Bloomberg, Tavares said he had “the energy and appetite for a No. 1 position” but was unlikely to succeed Ghosn, 59, any time soon.

“My experience would be good for any car company,” he was quoted as saying. “Why not GM? I would be honored to lead a company like GM.”

His exit marks the second departure by a Ghosn lieutenant in as many years after his predecessor, Patrick Pelata, was ousted over his role in the wrongful dismissal of three executives falsely accused of selling company secrets.

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