Zipse to hand torch to Luca de Meo as ACEA’s president

As of 1 January 2023, the current CEO of Renault, Luca de Meo, will take over the presidency of the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) from BMW’s CEO, Oliver Zipse, who has held the position for the last two years. The Board of Directors announced that on Friday.

Once renewable, the ACEA President is elected for a year-long term from the CEOs of its member companies, the sixteen major Europe-based car, van, truck, and bus manufacturers.

According to Zipse, “the European auto industry has been the reliable industrial backbone of the EU in highly volatile times. At the same time, we have been cautioning against over-regulation and calling for technology neutrality to be the base of EU competitiveness.”

An old hand in the car sector

The new president, Luca de Meo, born in Milan, Italy, in 1967, is an old hand in the automotive sector with a 30 year-career at several carmakers that started at Renault and brought him back there two years ago.

De Meo started his career at Renault before joining Toyota Europe, then the Fiat Group, where he managed the Lancia, Fiat, and Alfa Romeo brands. In 2009, he joined the Volkswagen Group as Marketing Director, both for Volkswagen brand passenger cars and Volkswagen Group.

Flourishing Seat

He became a member of the Board of Directors in charge of Sales and Marketing at Audi AG in 2012. Later he switched to SEAT as Chairman of the Executive Committee, member of the Supervisory Boards of Ducati and Lamborghini, and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Volkswagen Group in Spain.

Under his guidance, the global turnover of Volkswagen’s Spanish sister company grew by 12% to 11 billion euros. But it didn’t hold him back from switching seats again and rejoining his first employer, which was in dire straits after Carlos Ghosn fell off his throne.

Bringing Renault back to life

As the new big boss at Renault, de Meo pledged to bring Renault back to life within seven years, in three folds he named resurrection, renovation, and revolution. That revolution, he baptized the ‘Renaulution’.

Since July 2020, Luca de Meo has been Chief Executive Officer of Renault SA and Chairman of Renault S.A.S. Since January 2021, he is also CEO of Renault Brand and a member of the Renault Group’s Board of Management.

No fan of Euro 7

About his new role as President at ACEA, Luca de Meo says in the press release, “Looking ahead, we need Europe urgently to implement policies that fully support our decarbonization goal and enable us to face growing global competition.”

“We welcome the work on a European Raw Materials Act, which should support the continent’s economic resilience and the shift to zero emissions. Our industry is committed to investing heavily in e-mobility and to securing value creation and jobs in Europe.”

But he’s less pleased with the EU plans for the next Euro 7 standard. “The proposal in its current shape, however, would draw away massive human and financial resources from electrification at the very time when other world regions are creating an attractive investment environment for zero-emissions mobility.” With that, the tone is set.

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