Seat brand chief steps down as Renault continues to search for CEO

Seat Ateca

Volkswagen on Tuesday stated that Luca de Meo has stepped down from his present role as head of its Spanish Seat brand just as competitor Renault intensifies efforts to discover a new CEO.

“Luca de Meo, Chief Executive of Seat S.A. has had his duties as chief executive of Seat revoked at his own request and by mutual agreement,” Volkswagen stated on Tuesday.

De Meo is a challenger for the top job at Renault, but a stringent non-compete clause in De Meo’s contract is making it evident to be a hurdle in discussions about a move to Paris, one source knowledgeable with the matter informed Reuters.

“There is no agreement yet on how long a potential cooling-off period should be,” another source stated, remarking on how long De Meo would have to delay his start at Renault, given his intimate knowledge of Volkswagen Group’s strategy.

It was therefore still unclear whether de Meo would leave Volkswagen, a multi-brand group which is also the owner of the Lamborghini, Bugatti, Bentley, Skoda, VW, Audi, Porsche, and Ducati brands.

“Luca de Meo leaves Seat, but remains at VW,” a third source knowledgeable with the discussions said.

De Meo’s move comes as Renault attempts to resolve management turmoil triggered by the arrest of former Renault-Nissan alliance chairman Carlos Ghosn in Japan a year ago on financial misconduct charges which he rejects.

Ghosn fled Japan earlier week to Lebanon and already a news conference on Wednesday to give his side of the story following his arrest in late 2018.

Renault, currently led by interim chief Clotilde Delbos is concluding a shortlist of candidates to take the place of Thierry Bollore, who was ousted in mid-October.

“Luca de Meo is among those on the shortlist to head Renault, Clotilde Delbos is another one,” another source stated.

De Meo, who was appointed president of Seat in 2015, could not be contacted for discussing the matter.

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