PSA/Peugeot-Citroen has named Chief Financial Officer Frederic Saint-Geours as executive vice president for brands, replacing Jean-Marc Gales who is leaving the automaker to be the CEO of the European automotive suppliers association CLEPA. For this matter, Jean-Baptiste de Chatillon, previously the financial controller, will be assigned with Saint-Geours' CFO tasks.
PSA, the second biggest car manufacturer in Europe, is struggling. Last month, the automaker said that its vehicle division is anticipated to record a second-half operating loss of at least 405 million euros or $528.64 million. Through 11 months of 2011, sales in its European operations decreased by 8 percent to 1.5 million. Its market share also declined to 12.6 percent from 13.5 percent based on the industry association ACEA's data.
PSA CEO Philippe Varin commented that he is "delighted" to have Saint-Geours as head of brands in "this difficult period." He added that with the benefit of 25 years of experience with the group, Saint-Geours will put his experience of commercial activities and financial rigor to the service of globalization and product upgrading -- the two "key pillars" of the company's strategy.
Analyst Juergen Pieper at Frankfurt-based Bankhaus Metzler stated that he anticipates more changes in personnel at PSA as the carmaker attempts to turn around its business. He added that this year will not be a good one for them because its key markets (the ones in southern Europe) remain weak.
Meanwhile, analysts at Credit Suisse said in a research note that they view the management change as "an overall positive," adding that Saint-Geours came from "a more operational background." They also commented that despite having been finance director at PSA previously, Saint-Geours was "more at home" in running the operations within PSA rather than communicating to capital markets.