PARIS -- As Renault mulls who will succeed long-serving CEO Carlos Ghosn, the automaker appears to favor internal candidates -- but outsiders such a top Toyota executive and a former aircraft industry chief are also potential successors.
Ghosn, who has led Renault since 2005, will be 64 this spring when his current contract expires. If he steps down, Ghosn would be leaving his post with Renault's profits and sales at record highs.
Ghosn is more than just chief executive of Renault. He led Nissan's turnaround starting in 1999 when Renault bought a controlling stake in the ailing Japanese company. Ghosn was CEO of Nissan from 2001 until last April when he named Hiroto Saikawa as his successor.
Ghosn is chairman of the board of directors at Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi. He is also chairman of Renault-Nissan BV, the Dutch registered company that oversees the combined activities of the alliance.
Renault's board has been interviewing candidates for the post, Les Echos reported last month, with the intention of naming a successor around the time Renault releases its 2017 results on Feb. 16. Ghosn is expected to continue to lead the overall alliance, Les Echos said.
There is no clear successor to Ghosn. Two of his previous chief operating officers, Patrick Pelata and Carlos Tavares, left the company on unfavorable terms, and the current management structure does not include that position. Any candidate to run Renault would also be a top contender to oversee the Renault-Nissan alliance after Ghosn. The person would also need the support of the French government, which owns 15 percent of Renault.
Here is a look at contenders who have emerged in recent months:
Thierry Bollore, Renault chief competitive officer
Like Ghosn, Bollore, 54, began his career at Michelin, after receiving an MBA at Paris Dauphine University. His management responsibilities at the tire manufacturer included heavy-truck business units worldwide as well as tire production in Japan and Thailand.
He also served as vice president for Michelin’s aircraft businesses. In 2005 Bollore joined Faurecia, starting as a vice president based in China. He rose to become head of global industry, quality and purchasing.
In 2012, Bollore joined Renault as head of the manufacturing and supply chain, and became chief competitiveness officer the next year.