Renault SA (RNLSY) dismissed CEO Thierry Bollore Friday, less than a year after a scandal surrounding former chief Carlos Ghosn allegations of financial misconduct linked to his role as chairman at Nissan Motor Co. (NSANY)
Bollore, who was tabbed to replace Ghosn at the helm of the French carmarker following his arrest in Japan amid allegations of fraud and potential tax evasion, partially at the behest of France's Economy Minister Bruno Le Marie, who cited the state's 15% ownership stake. Bollore, a close confidant of Ghosn, reportedly told Renault employees yesterday that the board's more to replace him was little more than a "coup".
Bollore will be replaced by Clotilde Delbos on an interim basis, "until a process is completed to appoint a new CEO", Renault's executive board said in a statement Friday.
Renault shares were marked 2.8% higher in Paris trading following news of Bollore's ouster, and changing hands at €52.21 each, a move that still leaves the stock with a 4.5% year-to-date decline.
Bollore's departure is likely to spark another round of speculation over the fate of the carmaker's alliance with Nissan. Renault owns 43% of Nissan, which sells far more cars each year but only has a 15% sake in the French -- equal to that of the French government -- in return.
Japan's second-largest carmaker also named a new CEO this month, opting for relative newcomer Makoto Uchida, a man seen to have close ties with Renault, after ousting former boss Hiroto Saikawa over improper payments.
Ghosn stepped down from his role as CEO of Nissan last year as the 64-year old began paring back his position as the world's most visible auto executive amid escalating tensions with the French government, which owns a 15% stake in Renault, and shareholder pressure to either merge its alliance with Nissan or deepen ties between the two auotmakers and Mitsubishi.
His 2017 payout, which included €7.4 million from Renault and €9.2 million over his final year at the helm of Nissan, was also approved following a 56% to 43% vote by shareholders even as the French government, which owns a 15% stake, rejected the compensation plan.