PARIS - Francois Castaing, Chrysler's former executive vice president for international operations and general manager for powertrain, will be appointed this week to Valeo's board of directors by the shareholders' general assembly. Castaing will replace Daniel Lebegue, a French banker.
However, Castaing says he will not take an executive position at Valeo. He still works for Chrysler as a special adviser to the chairman.
Castaing is highly respected in France, thanks to his achievements with Renault Sport, AMC-Jeep and Chrysler. Valeo is considered one of the most efficient and profitable French companies, thanks to Noel Goutard's tough leadership since he became chairman in 1987.
After Castaing left Chrysler's top management last December, many wondered about his next move. At the same time, questions have been raised about Goutard's succession at Valeo. His present contract expires in 1999, but it can be renewed until 2001 when he reaches Valeo's statutory retirement age of 70.
Last autumn, he appointed two new group senior vice presidents: Bernard de Monseignat and Thierry Morin, both 45.
'By singling out two young executives, Goutard shows he is preparing for the future,' said a Paris-based analyst.
Castaing is currently serving as a technical adviser to Bob Eaton, Chrysler chairman. He denies any link between his appointment to Valeo's board and a future management job in the company. 'I will not move to France,' Castaing told Automotive News Europe. 'I will keep going with my US activities.'