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

International

FILE – In this Tuesday, March 5, 2019 file photo, Thierry Bollore, Renault Chief Executive Officer, speaks during the presentation of the new Renault Clio as part of the press day at the ’89th Geneva International Motor Show’ in Geneva, Switzerland. French carmaker Renault has dismissed its chief executive officer, overhauling its leadership once again after the jailing of its previous chairman and CEO. The decision by the board on Friday Oct. 11, 2019, to dismiss Thierry Bollore was effective immediately. (Cyril Zingaro/Keystone via AP, File)

PARIS (AP) — French carmaker Renault dismissed its CEO on Friday, an attempt to revitalize its alliance with Nissan, which was shaken by the jailing of the companies’ previous chief, Carlos Ghosn.

The board’s decision to fire Thierry Bolloré effective immediately came days after Nissan also named a new CEO, indicating the companies were intent on cleaning house after the scandal over Ghosn.

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

The company said Bolloré will be replaced on an interim basis by Chief Financial Officer Clotilde Delbos. Chairman Jean-Dominique Senard will become president during the interim period.

At a news conference to explain the decision to oust Bolloré, Senard said it was meant to “breathe new life” into the alliance with Nissan. He said it was made without pressure from the French government or Nissan.

“No one exerted pressure,” he said.

Renault owns 43% of Nissan but their alliance came under strain after Ghosn’s jailing. Renault considered a merger offer from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles that would have created the world’s third-largest automaker, but the talks fell apart due to concern over Nissan’s role.

Bolloré told French publication Les Echos ahead of the announcement that the board’s move to oust him came as a surprise. He said he found out Senard wanted him gone from media reports after he flew back to Paris from Tokyo in the early hours of Wednesday.

“The brutality and the totally unexpected nature of what is about to happen is stupefying,” he said, adding “I was always loyal to him.”

Responding to a question about Renault’s poor performance since he took the top post in January, he emphasized the strategic partnerships the company entered into with Google and Waymo under his watch.

“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.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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