Senard (left) delivering a speech next to new chief executive Bollore during a press conference at Renault's headquarters near Paris on Thursday. — AFP
PARIS: Renault appointed Michelin boss Jean-Dominique Senard as its new chairman on Thursday, after Carlos Ghosn was forced to resign in the wake of a financial scandal that has rocked the French carmaker and its alliance with Japan’s Nissan.
Senard will become chairman immediately, the company said, with deputy chief executive Thierry Bollore taking over Ghosn’s other Renault role as full CEO.
The appointments may begin to ease a Renault-Nissan leadership crisis that erupted after Ghosn’s Nov. 19 arrest in Japan and swift dismissal as Nissan chairman.
Senard, 65, now faces the task of soothing relations with Nissan and resuming talks on a new alliance structure to cement the 20-year-old partnership.
“It’s important that this alliance remain extremely strong,” Senard told reporters after a board meeting - citing the mounting investment demands of new vehicle technologies. “It is our compulsory duty to go forward together.”
Nissan welcomed the leadership change, which CEO Hiroto Saikawa said would open a “new chapter” for the partnership.
The announcement also marks a clear end to one of the auto industry’s most feted careers, two decades after Ghosn was despatched by former Renault boss Louis Schweitzer to rescue newly acquired Nissan from near-bankruptcy - a feat he pulled off in two years.
After 14 years as Renault CEO and a decade as chairman, Ghosn formally resigned from both roles on the eve of the board meeting.