Renault has made changes in its top executive positions, appointing new bosses to several ranks including engineering and quality head, product planning chief and China operations boss. The new appointments are among the first major management changes by Renault COO Carlos Tavares, who was appointed in the position last year.
Renault has named Jean-Michel Billig as the new chief of engineering and quality, replacing Odile Desforges who is leaving the automaker for retirement.
Presently, he serves as the R&D head at helicopter maker Eurocopter. His new position will be effective on July 1. Katsumi Nakamura has been named Renault's chief of China business operations effective April 1. At present, he is the chairman of Renault's operations in the Asia-Africa region.
Analyst Carlos Da Silva at IHS Automotive commented that the appointment of Nakamura to lead the newly created China business operations is a "logical" approach considering his experience as head of the Asia-Pacific region. He further stated that Nakamura was the one leading Nissan's introduction in China. In addition, Nakamura knows "what's ahead," Da Silva said.
He further commented that Nakamura will "certainly be an invaluable asset" to Renault since the automaker is basically venturing into a new territory. Also effective on April 1, Thomas Lane will oversee product planning, replacing Beatrice Fouchier who will have a new position not yet specified.
Lane is presently serving as corporate vice president for product planning at Nissan. He will also oversee Renault's technology partnership with Daimler. Renault's new chairman for the Asia-Pacific region will be Gilles Normand, effective April 1. He is currently working at Nissan as corporate vice president for the automaker's operations in India, Africa and Middle East.