LUCA CIFERRI

What's next for Tavares, Ghosn and Renault?

Luca Ciferri is Editor of Automotive News Europe.Luca Ciferri is Editor of Automotive News Europe.
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It's not surprising that that Carlos Tavares relinquished his chief operating officer duties at Renault. When you publicly say you would like to be CEO of another automaker, it is pretty clear that your days at your current employer are numbered.

In an Aug. 14 interview with Bloomberg, Tavares said he would like to have a chance to lead General Motors or Ford Motor. Tavares is 55 and wants to be the CEO at a global automaker – now. He felt the No. 1 job at Renault would not open up for at least another five years because that is when his boss, Carlos Ghosn, would be about 65 years old.

Tavares appears to have little chance of running Ford. Mark Fields is already the CEO-in-waiting at the U.S automaker. GM has not announced who will replace CEO Dan Akerson, who will turn 65 on Oct. 21. GM has strong candidates in its ranks, but the company already has shown its open to picking an outsider for a top job. A recent example was GM choosing former Volkswagen executive Karl-Thomas Neumann to run Opel/Vauxhall.

Tavares has extensive knowledge of the U.S. market from his successful stint as Nissan's top executive for the Americas region. He also has an extensive knowledge of the European mass-market, something that no GM CEO has had in a long time.

Meanwhile, Renault is looking for its second No. 2 man in less than 28 months. Ghosn will handle both CEO and COO responsibilities at Renault until Tavares's replacement can be found. I would expect a longtime Renault or Nissan executive to get the position.

You can reach Luca Ciferri at lciferri@crain.com.

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