Thierry Bolloré new CEO at Jaguar Land Rover
Thierry Bolloré, the former CEO of Renault, has been appointed as the new CEO of the Tata-owned car manufacturer Jaguar Land Rover. The Indian group Tata Motors has communicated that Mr. Bolloré will take over from Ralph Speth on the 10th of September.
Speth has led the company for more than ten years but had already decided to withdraw from its present functions a while ago. Speth is now 65, and JLR communicated that its contract wouldn’t be renewed. He will stay a member of the Board at Tata Sons.
Thierry Bolloré was lured away from automotive supplier Faurecia by Renault’s Carlos Ghosn in 2012. Already at that time, it was clear that his number two, Carlos Tavares, wouldn’t stay very long anymore.
The latter was far too ambitious, and the first was not inclined to end its reign at Renault very soon. When Tavares suggested in an interview that he was ready to lead a car company, for example, General Motors, Ghosn used it as a lever to get the far too ambitious other Carlos out of the way. Maybe not his best decision when you see what Tavares has made from PSA, Renault’s biggest competitor.
So Thierry Bolloré made his way through the Renault ranks to become the undisputed number two at the beginning of 2018. At the end of that same year, the unimaginable happened, and Carlos Ghosn found himself trapped in a Japanese jail.
After some hesitation, Thierry Bolloré was appointed CEO ad interim. What happened to Carlos Ghosn put a lot of pressure on the Alliance Renault/Nissan/Mitsubishi, and the French state – still major shareholder at Renault– pushed a new man forward as President of Renault’s board, Jean-Dominique Senard, at that time leaving CEO at Michelin.
The soft-spoken, rather timid Thierry Bolloré apparently wasn’t the right person at the right place for some top Renault people (and the French Minister Bruno le Maire) and, of course, the fact that he had been chosen by the demised Carlos Ghosn wasn’t an advantage either.
At the end of last year, Thierry Bolloré was suddenly ousted from its CEO chair, and Renault went looking for a new CEO with more charisma, supposed to be more able to get Renault out of the difficult position it is experiencing now. The flamboyant Luca de Meo is seen as the right man for the job.
Jaguar Land Rover
Thierry Bolloré will take over at Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) at the moment the whole car industry is ailing because of the corona crisis. Nevertheless, Bolloré is looking forward to his new job: “It’s really a privilege to lead this fantastic company through a period that can be considered as one of the most challenging of our generation,” Bolloré courageously commented.
JLR already announced a loss of £500 million for the first quarter of this year and has started to scrap some 1 100 interim jobs at its UK facilities. This comes in addition to the nearly 5 000 redundancies announced at the end of last year as part of a huge restructuring.
Now, the group has decided to lower its expenses by £5 billion before the end of this new fiscal year (March 2021), one billion more than previously planned. The biggest victims of these new cuts are R&D and production facilities, where investments will be reduced from the planned £3,3 billion to £2,5 billion.