Renault could name Pelata’s successor from internal list

City A.M. Reporter
THE chief executive of French carmaker Renault has said that the company has several possible internal candidates to replace chief operating officer Patrick Pelata, who resigned this week over an industrial espionage fiasco.

Renault, 15-per cent owned by the French state, fired three executives in January, saying its high-profile electric vehicle project had been targeted by an international spy network, but later had to admit it was tricked – the men did nothing wrong and there was no spying.

“It’s too early to give a name, but have confidence in us,” said Carlos Ghosn. “Renault has a succession plan for all its management. The interim period will not drag on but we will take a few weeks to examine the different candidatures,” Ghosn said.

“And I think there are several possible candidates internally,” he added.

It has been reported that Philippe Klein, executive vice president of product planning and programmes, and finance chief Dominique Thormann were in the running to replace Pelata.

Ghosn also said that an investigation into the industrial espionage case did not implicate him and he never thought of resigning over it.

“Nothing in the audit implicates me,” Ghosn said, referring to an inquiry that led to Pelata’s resignation.

The group set out a new strategic plan in February that aimed to nearly double operating margin to more than five per cent of sales in 2013, as part of a new growth plan that targets Brazil and Russia as key markets.

Dominique Thormann, currently finance chief at Renault, is reported to be in the running to become chief operating officer