Renault: jump Thierry Bollorè. Are games with FCA reopened?
The earthquake was expected and occurred three days after a similar revolution in Nissan. The board of the French car manufacturer has in fact removed the CEO Thierry Bolloré from his duties. Renault's current chief financial officer, Clotilde Delbos, has been appointed to fill the interim position.
This is a new sequel to the Carlos Ghosn case at Renault. The decision was decided in an extraordinary board of directors. The torpedoing of Bolloré, anticipated in recent days, took place on the initiative of the president, Jean-Dominique Senard, with the support of the French state, which holds 15% of the group's capital. For months, rumors about the differences between Bolloré and Senard had been on the agenda. Bolloré spoke of a "sensational and disturbing coup".
The French company was subjected to constant earthquakes after the departure in April of Carlos Ghosn from Renault's number one and of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance, following the arrest in Japan for fraud and illicit activities. At the end of May, the chapter of the merger with FCA opened which seemed to be taken for granted and then it was wrecked in a few days for the brakes placed by the French state and due to internal and Renault external resistances caused by frictions with Japanese allies.
The merger was to create an industrial reality capable of covering almost all market segments, starting from electric city cars, passing through pick-ups and arriving at the premium and supercar sector. With the merger between FCA and Renault, the Alliance (therefore including Nissan and Mitsubishi) would have exceeded 15 million vehicles produced annually, detaching the Volkswagen group by more than four million, currently in first place.
At the moment a reopening of the dialogues with FCA is not on the table even if nothing can be excluded and the market has given signs of appreciation in this sense, rewarding both the Renault and Fiat Chrysler titles. A month ago Bollorè declared to Il Sole 24 Ore: «We no longer speak with FCA. The partnership is no longer on the table. We look forward and we are very sorry. I think they are sorry, too, who will regret our technology like what is inside the new Captur, (making an implied reference to the modular platform and the technologies that FCA does not have, ed.). We work with Nissan to support the Alliance. "
And now it is to be understood how the new leaders will move (even those of the Japanese ally) because consolidation in the automotive sector is crucial to get out of the desert of the margins in which it is located.
And in fact, according to Citi analysts, the changes at the helm of Nissan and Renault could reopen the games for an alliance between FCA and the French manufacturer. Citi recalls how both Senard and the interim CEO, Clotilde Delbos, have been supporters of a merger with FCA while Nissan's new management team will probably want to build its legacy and "a mega transcontinental merger could be just" the way to do it .
«This is the life of companies. There are times when it is useful for a company to find new life, there is nothing personal ». So Senard commented on the decision. The change at the top "was necessary for the renewal of the alliance" with Nissan, he said. Just the president of Renault had lobbied for an exit of Bolloré, with the consent of the French government (confirmed today by the Minister of Finance, Bruno Le Maire), which holds a 15% stake in the car manufacturer. Bolloré's ouster is expected to improve relations with Nissan and revive an alliance that has fogged in recent times due to a series of internal tensions.