Carlos Tavares exits Renault following ambitious remark

Article by Anita Panait, on August 29, 2013

Carlos Tavares, Renault’s Chief Operating Officer, is quitting two weeks after he publicly said that he would like to become the top man at either General Motors or Ford Motor. In a statement, Renault said that Tavares is leaving "in order to pursue other personal projects." The carmaker that Tavares' duties will be carried out by chief executive Carlos Ghosn until changes in its management organization occurs.

In a Bloomberg interview published Aug. 14, 2013, Tavares said that Ghosn is staying at Renault for the foreseeable future, thus he was interested in running GM or Ford instead. "Anyone who is passionate about the auto industry comes to a conclusion that there is a point where you have the energy and appetite for a No. 1 position," he told Bloomberg.

Renault named Tavares as its COO two years ago after the former holder of the post, Patrick Pelata, had to resign following a failed spy scandal wherein three senior managers were wrongfully dismissed. Tavares had been with Renault for 31 years, starting as a test-driving engineer. He worked his way up through the ranks and was tasked to run Nissan Motor Co.’s North American operations.

Under Tavares, Renault was able to post unexpected profit growth in the first half of 2013, thanks to labor cost cuts and higher vehicle prices that allowed the carmaker to counteract a current vehicle sales slump in Europe.

When he was running North America for Nissan, Tavares was able to help the carmaker earn JPY209 billion ($2.2 billion) in the region in the year ended March 2010, a significant turnaround from the JPY46.7 billion loss in 2009. [source: Renault]

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