Herbert Diess, chief executive of Volkswagen, stated Luca de Meo, who stepped down as chief executive of the German automaker’s Spanish Seat brand this month, was probably in talks with French automaker Renault.
The Italian-born de Meo was a chairman of Seat’s executive committee for four years, supervising a resurgence in the Barcelona-based company’s sales and increasing its prominence within the Volkswagen group.
“We are very, very sad that Luca is leaving us because he played a very important role in the group,” stated Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess to CNBC on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF) yearly meeting in Davos.
“He did a great job with us but we accepted that he’s going to leave and he’s probably in talks with Renault, that’s what he told us,” Diess stated.
Renault refused to comment on the matter on Thursday.
Renault Chairman Jean-Dominique Senard stated this week that a new CEO would be named soon.
De Meo has been in talks with Renault but dealt with a possible hurdle over a stringent non-compete clause in the contract, sources informed Reuters previously.
The French state, which has a stake in Renault, has provided its tacit support to de Meo’s possible appointment.
“There’s no reason the state would oppose de Meo’s nomination,” a source at the economy ministry stated.
In December, Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia mentioned anonymous sources as saying Renault – following the high-profile arrest of former boss Carlos Ghosn – had offered de Meo the job of chief executive.
Renault and its Japanese partner, Nissan, have recently rejected media reports that their 20-year-old alliance was on the verge of being dissolved.