PARIS -- Renault SA CEO Officer Carlos Ghosn will lose his second-in-command after Patrick Pelata resigned, bowing to pressure from the French government to take responsibility for a botched espionage probe.
Pelata will stay on temporarily as chief operating officer before moving to a role within the carmaker's alliance with Nissan Motor Co. Four other executives directly involved in the flawed internal probe will also leave.
The carmaker did not name a successor for Pelata, who took over day-to-day control of Renault from Ghosn in 2008.
The resignations on Monday follow calls from the French government, the carmaker's biggest shareholder, for Renault to take further action for the wrongful firing of three senior executives.
Finance Minister Christine Lagarde said those responsible for the affair "must depart." Lagarde welcomed the announced reorganization and departures, which she said conformed to "guidance offered by the government."
Lagarde and Industry Minister Eric Besson will meet Ghosn in coming months "to review industrial strategy with a view to reinforcing the Renault-Nissan alliance," she said.
Pelata had offered to resign last month and Ghosn refused to accept it.
"Sacrificing the number two is a way of refocusing public attention on Renault, its business and its electronic car program," said Christopher Mesnooh, a Paris-based lawyer with Field Fisher Waterhouse, who isn't involved in the case.
Pelata "will continue to manage operations until his departure from Renault," when he will move to another job within the automaker's alliance with Nissan, the carmaker said.
Renault admitted last month it was tricked into wrongfully firing three senior managers after the company incorrectly concluded they had received payments from Chinese companies via foreign accounts.