a reshuffle to prepare the succession of Jean-Dominique Senard?

Rescheduling at Renault. The French automotive group has announced the appointment of Fabrice Cambolive to the position of chief commercial officer (COO) of the Renault brand… In other words, he becomes number two in a company’s hierarchy, behind the general manager and executes the operational strategy. In this case the scope of Fabrice Cambolive, so far being in charge of sale, confers on him the chairmanship of the management committee of the Renault brand. Luca de Meo, for his part, will retain the position of General Manager, but will take the lead on strategic issues at the level of the Renault group which also includes Dacia and Alpine, but also at the level of the Renault-Nissan Alliance.

New Volkswagen-style organisation

In reality, this realignment says a lot about Renault’s evolution, but also about the future.

As a reminder, until 2020, the brands were all under the same centralized management. When Luca de Meo took over as head of the group in July 2020, one of Luca de Meo’s first decisions was to reorganize the company by brand, each with independent management, such as Volkswagen, where he even owned the Seat brand himself. led. So he called Denis Le Vot, Dacia’s general manager, and Cyril Abiteboul at the head of Alpine, before replacing the latter with Laurent Rossi a few months later. Renault continued to be led by Luca de Meo, who effectively combined the functions of general manager of the group and the brand of the same name, while Jean-Dominique Senard was chairman of the group and in charge of business with the Nissan allies. and Mitsubishi.

“Luca de Meo had to have direct contact with the brand when he joined the group, to immerse himself in the house culture…”, a manager told La Tribune. “But the days are only 24 hours long and the files to be processed are becoming more and more numerous. It was necessary for him to be able to rely on someone who was reliable to lead the strategic plan on site,” the source continues. specify: Fabrice Cambolive ticks all the boxes: he has a good experience in house, a strong legitimacy, has understood the logic of the Renaulution plan…”.

Head full of construction sites

For Luca de Meo, this is a sign that his organization is mature enough to let go and take on new projects. Especially since the boss has his head full of it: internationalization, plan to split thermal and electrical activities, the main lines of which are being assessed, or even the issue of rebalancing the alliance with Nissan through a possible sale. the capital of the Japanese. In any event, the issue of the Alliance will remain a work in progress as, in the view of many analysts, the stocks of industrial synergies are far from being fully exploited.

Sale of Nissan shares, split of Renault… Luca de Meo lifts all taboos

Is Jean-Dominique Senard’s succession open?

It is impossible not to put these projects and this reorganization in perspective with the end of Jean-Dominique’s mandate in 2023. When he is 70, he can be legally renewed, even if he will soon reach the age limit (72 years). . The statutes do not preclude taking a term of office when it exceeds the age limit, and to provide nor to interrupt it at this time. The question of a new mandate that will put him at the helm until the age of 74 remains open and so does that of his succession.

This has internal implications of course, but also tactics as it will be necessary to spare Nissan’s Japanese. Finally, it will need the support of the French government, which remains Renault’s largest shareholder (15% of the capital), and still retains the right of control over its strategic decisions.