Ghosn takes the wheel at Renault

30th April 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, April 29 (AFP) - Nissan's iconic chief executive Carlos Ghosn was officially named to head France's 107-year-old automaker Renault on Friday, stepping into a dual role aimed at reinforcing an alliance between the Japanese manufacturer and its French partner.

PARIS, April 29 (AFP) - Nissan's iconic chief executive Carlos Ghosn was officially named to head France's 107-year-old automaker Renault on Friday, stepping into a dual role aimed at reinforcing an alliance between the Japanese manufacturer and its French partner.  

Ghosn, born in Brazil to a Lebanese family, was appointed Renault chief executive by the company's board of direcrtors at the end of a shareholders' meeting here.  

Regarded as one of the world's most effective business leaders, Ghosn, 51, succeeds Louis Schweitzer, who had been Renault chairman and chief executive officer, according to an agreement worked out in 2002.  

Ghosn will retain his position as Nissan CEO while Schweitzer will remain Renault chairman.  

"I am handing over to Carlos Ghosn," Schweitzer said. "It will be up to him to lead the way and to mobilize Renault to meet new challenges ahead."  

Renault owns 44.4 percent of Nissan, while Nissan owns 15 percent of the French company.  

Ghosn has said he would present a multi-year development plan for the French automaker toward the end of 2005.  

"In terms of strategy, there won't be a lot of surprises," Ghosn told reporters on Thursday.  

"There will not be any 'cut-and-paste' at Renault of what has happened at Nissan," he said.  

To manage Renault and Nissan, which are based 10,000 kilometres (6,200 miles) apart and have a combined 300,000 employees, Ghosn intends to spend 40 percent of his time at Renault's Paris headquarters and 40 percent at Tokyo-based Nissan, with the remainder in the United States and elsewhere.  

Ghosn went to work for Renault in 1996 and was entrusted by the company in 1999 to save Nissan at a time when it was in rapid decline, with billions of dollars in debt and a plunging market share.  

Today, Nissan is the number two domestic carmaker, after Toyota, in terms of capitalization - and is twice as large as Renault in sales.  

The polyglot boss returns to Renault with the reputation of "cost killer" - a label he detests.  

Ghosn added that one focus at Renault would be to promote sales in developing markets, "which have been the sole areas of growth over the past five years."  

He also said he would maintain Nissan and Renault as separate operating companies, even though "we are going more and more towards a decrease in the number of automakers, and towards more and more collaboration between competitors."  

Furthermore, the two companies remained open to the possibility of having another enterprise join their alliance. "We have never said that it was a closed club," he said, adding that no specific projects were under consideration.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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