Renault has named Luca de Meo, the former head of Volkswagen’s Seat brand, as its next CEO.
De Meo’s appointment completes one of the biggest tasks at the French automakers which was left to be done after it cleared the decks afters the 2018 arrest of former boss Carlos Ghosn, and as it seeks to reset its strained alliance with Japanese automaker Nissan.
Ghosn, who forged and supervised the Renault-Nissan partnership for almost two decades, has since escaped Japan to Lebanon, from where he has contested the financial misconduct charges against him and said the partnership was on the verge of collapse.
De Meo will start on July 1, Renault stated.
Last week, Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess had informed that de Meo is probably in talks with Renault.
Clotilde Delbos, the automaker’s finance chief who has been interim CEO since former CEO Thierry Bollore was ousted last October, will then become deputy CEO.
Just like their rivals, Renault is experiencing a drop in demand, and has stated it expects a slight decline in the auto market in Europe, Russia and China this year.
The automaker has also presented 2020 as a make-or-break year for the alliance with Nissan and is expected to deliver on cost savings and joint industrial projects.
De Meo knows French language. He started his career at Renault and has worked at Fiat – where he was among those managers who helped release of the Fiat 500 model along late boss Sergio Marchionne – and Audi among other brands.
De Meo is credited with strengthening sales at Barcelona-based Seat brand, diffusing it with a more sporty image and speeding up projects that were already in the works.