Luca de Meo on its way to Renault?
On Tuesday, a dry press message from car manufacturer Seat announced that CEO Luca de Meo was no longer in function. Most analysts see in this the sign that the deal with Renault is almost concluded.
“Seat informs that, on his request and in common agreement with the Volkswagen Group, Luca de Meo is stepping down from his position as President of Seat. Luca de Meo will remain a member of the Group until further notice.” This was the short official message published on Tuesday.
Until now, it’s not clear yet if Luca de Meo is leaving Volkswagen or that he will take another function within the group. With the rumors launched already a few months ago by the French newspaper, le Figaro, it is more than possible that de Meo is on its way to Renault.
The Renault board has made up a shortlist of possible candidates for the job of CEO, now occupied ad interim by the former CFO, Clotilde Delbos, after Thierry Bolloré was ousted in October. Delbos is also on the shortlist, but the absolute favorite of the board seems to be Luca de Meo.
The charismatic Luca de Meo (52) has started his career at Renault and was consecutively working for Toyota, Fiat, and Volkswagen.
The problem for the deal to be done is that there is a hefty non-competition clause in the contract between de Meo and VW. According to two sources, Volkswagen and Renault are discussing this clause right now.
“It seems possible to buy out the clause, but Volkswagen is asking a very high price,” one of the sources confirms.
The right man at the right place?
Last four years, Luca de Meo turned around Seat, which is doing a lot better now and has even launched a sporty sub-brand, Cupra, a year ago. Renault hopes that his enthusiasm and motivating capacities will create a new start for Renault.
The French manufacturer is still suffering from the so-called Ghosn debacle: the big boss was arrested in Japan in November 2018 for fraud and tax evasion. An incredible coincidence: Ghosn, who has evaded Japan last week, will speak out on Wednesday in a press conference in Libanon to give his view of the events.