Luca De Meo has to grapple with an industry downturn in demand, and Renault has said it expected a slight decline in the car market in Europe, Russia and China this year. He also has to try to revitalise the Nissan partnership.
Renault has appointed Luca de Meo, the former head of Volkswagen’s Seat brand, as its next CEO.
The French multinational automobile manufacturer is aiming to draw a line under a year of turmoil by finalising a long-awaited management shake-up.
Luca De Meo’s appointment fills the biggest gap at Renault after it cleared the decks following the 2018 arrest in Tokyo of former CEO Carlos Ghosn, and it seeks to restore its strained alliance with Japan’s Nissan, Reuters reported.
Ghosn, who forged and oversaw the Renault-Nissan partnership for almost two decades, has fled Japan to Lebanon and is contesting the financial misconduct charges laid against him and said the Renault-Nissan partnership was at risk of collapse.
De Meo will start on 1 July, Renault said in a statement.
Clotilde Delbos, the Renault CFO has been interim CEO since former Ghosn ally Thierry Bollore was ousted last October. Delbos will become deputy CEO.
Italian-born De Meo had been hotly tipped for the CEO job, but faced hurdles because of a non-compete clause in his VW contract, sources previously told Reuters.
De Meo will take the reins under Renault Chairman Jean-Dominique Senard, who was brought in last January from tyre manufacturer Michelin.
The 52-year-old De Meo started his career at Renault and has worked at Fiat, where he was one of the managers who helped launch the Fiat 500 model, and Audi among other brands.
De Meo is credited with revitalising sales at Barcelona-based Seat, imbuing it with a more sporty image and accelerating projects that were already in the works.
De Meo has to grapple with an industry downturn in demand, and has said it expected a slight decline in the car market in Europe, Russia and China this year.
Costs are also rising as vehicle manufacturers have to meet new emissions targets with less polluting models.