Renault in search of Ghosn successor
A few days before an all important board meeting, some candidates for the succession of Carlos Ghosn at the helm of Renault abandon ship while others prepare themselves to be the designated successor.
In a lapse of a few days Thierry Desmarest (independent board member) and Stefan Mueller (director for performance) have announced to leave the company. That leaves a free way for Thierry Bolloré (director of competitiveness) to be designated the number two of the company and the successor of Carlos Ghosn in due time.
The French state still owns 15% of car manufacturer Renault and has a more than 20% voting stake. It is very clear that the French government wants a French candidate to lead the company, hence the pole position of Monsieur Bolloré.
Second theme of interest for the French government: a possible fusion inside the so-called Alliance, the partnership between Renault, Nissan and (lately) Mitsubishi. Bruno Le Maire, finance minister in the Macron government, wants that fusion but encounters fierce opposition from Carlos Ghosn. Both key players had a long telephone call on the matter just recently.
What about Ghosn?
It’s not known yet what Renault’s number one, Carlos Ghosn (64 in March), will do. Will he simply appoint a successor to take over in due time, or will he immediately leave the operational side of Renault to Bolloré and become chairman of the board, like he did at Nissan a year ago? A scenario preferred by the markets and the French government.
Another question is who will be Ghosn’s successor at the top of the Alliance? The French government is pushing Renault to take the lead in the Alliance and have a fusion between the different partners, the Japanese want a managerial reequilibration as Nissan is the most important in car sales of the three.
Carlos Ghosn is in favour of a consolidation of the Alliance, not a fusion. He remarks that many fusions in the automotive industry didn’t work out very well, because of (deep) cultural differences and the fact that they makes them lose their identity. He’s more in favour of a very tight partnership working together on many aspects.
The markets are waiting for a clear succession plan for Ghosn at the top of the Alliance. His personality weighs too heavily on the Alliance and succession has to be prepared urgently. A growing number of people don’t want a new Ghosn any more, they want a more equilibrated joint governance.