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Renault ousts CEO in drive to reboot Nissan alliance
PARIS (Reuters) — Renault ousted chief executive Thierry Bollore on Friday, as the French carmaker and its Japanese partner Nissan seek to rekindle their alliance following the scandal-hit tenure of former alliance supremo Carlos Ghosn.
Tensions between Renault and Nissan, which picked a new CEO on Tuesday, have been high since Ghosn’s arrest in Tokyo last year on allegations of financial misconduct, which he denies.
Bollore, who was close to Ghosn and had strained relations with Nissan’s previous boss, will be replaced on an interim basis by Renault finance director Clotilde Delbos.
With new faces at the helm, Renault chairman Jean-Dominique Senard is hoping to draw a line under almost a year of turmoil and revive cooperation between two carmakers once seen as destined to fully merge.
That is vital at a time when auto markets are slowing and carmakers are having to invest in costly new technologies as well as meet challenging European emissions regulations.
“We’re at a new stage now for this alliance. Sometimes you need new management... to breathe new life into things,” Senard, who was brought in earlier this year from tire maker Michelin, told a news conference in Paris.
He said three members of Renault’s 18-strong board abstained in the vote to remove Bollore, who hit out at his looming dismissal in a newspaper interview the night before, calling it a coup.
Following Ghosn’s arrest, a feeling of stagnation around joint Renault-Nissan projects, including on issues such as advancing on cost savings, had begun to set in, people at Renault have said. These would now be the first priority, according to a source close to the carmaker.
“There are a lot of concrete matters that have already been identified, including on the industrial front: working on batteries, electric vehicles, connectivity, purchasing and self-driving cars,” the source said.
Shares in Renault closed up 5.1 percent.