Renault announced the termination of CEO Thierry Bolloré Friday as the company seeks to rid itself of the executives from former CEO Carlos Ghosn’s orbit and start fresh. Former Chief Financial Officer Clotilde Delbos will serve as interim CEO until a permanent replacement is selected.
Renault’s chairman, Jean-Dominique Senard, will conduct the search for the new CEO.
Bolloré’s uneasy relationship with Nissan likely cemented his removal, which he called a “coup” Thursday. Speaking to a local paper, he said that the “brutality and the totally unexpected character” of the shake-up were “stupefying,” Reuters reports.
Renault’s board of directors said the move was made because it “decided to end the mandate” of Mr. Bolloré. The announcement didn’t make clear what Mr. Bolloré’s mandate was or what its plans would be moving forward.
Turmoil has rocked the leadership structure of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance since the arrest and eventual removal of former chairman Carlos Ghosn almost a year ago. Nissan named Makoto Uchida CEO Tuesday after allegations of financial misconduct were leveled against Hiroto Saikawa, who took the reins after Ghosn stepped down as Nissan CEO in 2017.
Ghosn, who was credited with Nissan’s turn-around, was charged with financial misconduct in Japan, alongside fellow director Greg Kelly. Renault kept Ghosn on its board for several weeks despite the initial charges, but he was re-arrested on new charges in late December, 2018, and eventually stepped down from Renault’s board in January. Senard came from tire company Michelin to replace him.
“The investigation showed that over many years both Ghosn and Kelly have been reporting compensation amounts in the Tokyo Stock Exchange securities report that were less than the actual amount, in order to reduce the disclosed amount of Carlos Ghosn’s compensation.” Nissan said in a statement.
Renault wants to ease tensions with Nissan amid speculation that Ghosn and Kelly were targeted due to the former CEO’s desire to fully merge the Japanese automaker with Renault—a prospect that many believe Nissan’s Japanese executives strongly oppose.