The French government, which owns a 15% stake in Renault and has a boardroom vote regarding the automaker’s next CEO, feels as though experience is more important than nationality, said the country’s junior economy minister, Agnes Pannier-Runacher.
Renault began its search for a new CEO last week after ousting Thierry Bollore and replacing him with Clotilde Delbos on an interim basis. Now, the government is willing to focus on simply finding the person with the best resume, according to Autonews Europe.
“When we had to find the best profile for someone to lead Air France, we got someone who is not French – very well,” said Pannier-Runacher, referring to former Air Canada boss Ben Smith. “It’s the best profile that counts here, someone that is able to carry Renault and to play their role in the alliance at a time of major changes.”
Earlier this year, Renault brought in Jean-Dominique Senard from Michelin as chairman, after the former Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance boss Carlos Ghosn was arrested in Tokyo on financial misconduct allegations. Senard’s goal now is to get the alliance back on track.
With that in mind, it is unlikely that Renault’s next CEO will be somebody already working for the company, according to a source close to the recruitment process, who claimed that “the successor will probably be an external candidate, as Ghosn did not prepare anything and left scorched earth behind”.
As for how French officials feel about Senard’s quest to revamp Renault’s management, it seems he has their full support. “You have got a new boss who comes on board, who readjusts and aligns his team, it’s a very basic step and it’s a good thing,” said Pannier-Runacher, who added that Senard “is doing his job, full stop.”
Finally, the junior minister also said that Paris was not against a potential revival of the FCA-Renault merger, stating that “everything is open.”