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Renault ousts CEO to ‘breathe new life’ into Nissan alliance

by Ace Damon
Renault

Today´s Deals

Claire Parker, Associated Press

Published October 11, 2019 at 5:36.

Last updated Friday, October 11, 2019 10:51 AM

PARIS – French automaker Renault fired its CEO on Friday in an attempt to revitalize its alliance with Nissan, which was shaken by the arrest of former boss Carlos Ghosn.

The board's decision to dismiss Thierry Bollore took effect immediately days after Nissan also appointed a new CEO, indicating that companies intended to clean the house after the Ghosn scandal.

Bollore replaced Ghosn after the former CEO was arrested in Tokyo last November on charges of falsifying financial reports in compensation for underreporting and breach of trust. Ghosn, who led both companies and the Nissan-Renault alliance, is currently awaiting trial and denies wrongdoing.

The company said Bollore will be temporarily replaced by CFO Clotilde Delbos. President Jean-Dominique Senard will become president during the interim period.

At a news conference to explain the decision to expel Bollore, Senard said the goal was to "give new life" to the alliance with Nissan. He said it was done without pressure from the French government or Nissan.

"No one exerted pressure," he said.

Renault owns 43 percent of Nissan, but its alliance came under pressure after Ghosn's arrest. Renault considered a merger offer from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles that would create the third largest automaker in the world, but negotiations broke down over concerns over Nissan's role.

Bollore told the French publication Les Echos before the announcement that the board's decision to expel him was a surprise. He said he found that Senard wanted him to get out of the media after he returned from Tokyo to Paris in the early hours of Wednesday.

"The brutality and utterly unexpected nature of what is about to happen is narcotic," he said, adding that "I have always been loyal to him."

Answering a question about Renault's poor performance since taking office in January, he emphasized the strategic partnerships the company has with Google and Waymo under its supervision.

"What is at stake is not me personally, but the future of Renault and its 186,000 employees," he told Les Echos.

——

Lori Hinnant contributed to this report.

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