Sacked Renault manager vows to fight his dismissal

ONE of three Renault managers sacked for allegedly leaking electric vehicle secrets, is planning to fight the company’s decision to dismiss him, his lawyer said yesterday.

Michel Balthazard, a member of Renault’s management committee and a leader of its electric vehicle programme, received a letter of dismissal on Saturday, which accused him of receiving money from outside the company.

But yesterday, his lawyer, Xavier Thouvenin, vowed to take the fight to the employment courts.

Thouvenin added that he had heard that another of the three, Bertrand Rochette, had also received a dismissal letter. He had no information about the third manager, Matthieu Tenenbaum.

The three men were suspended on 3 January after an internal investigation that Renault said revealed espionage aimed at the secrets of its electric vehicle programme. The company filed a criminal complaint on Thursday with Paris prosecutors alleging that it was the victim of “organised industrial espionage, corruption, breach of trust, theft and concealment.” The complaint does not name the three men and asserts the involvement of a foreign company, which it does not identify.

Thouvenin told reporters Renault had provided few details of its investigation, and that the car maker did not appear certain that Balthazard had received money.

Renault and its Japanese affiliate Nissan are spending €4bn (£3.4bn) developing electric vehicles. Renault says while some information may have been leaked, no crucial technology has left the firm.