PARIS -- Renault has overhauled its executive committee as it maps out a future without longtime leader Carlos Ghosn. The change will sideline Mouna Sepehri, a senior executive close to Ghosn, while expanding the number of board members to 12, with seven new appointees.
Sepehri will lose her place on the board. Also leaving the board are Bruno Ancelin, head of product planning, who is retiring, and Jean-Christophe Kugler, head of Europe.
Sepehri was among a group of Ghosn loyalists who explored legal ways to pay him undisclosed income via the Dutch Renault-Nissan BV venture. She had herself received extra pay from the subsidiary, Reuters reported. Sepehri will move to an advisory position, ending her oversight of corporate governance, communications, legal and public affairs.
Kugler, a 35-year Renault veteran, was once seen as a successor to Ghosn and has clashed with new CEO Thierry Bollore, French papers said. A Renault spokesperson said the automaker will name Kugler's replacement at a later date.
The shakeup underscores the unwinding of a power structure built up during almost two decades by Ghosn, who is on bail in Japan awaiting trial on accusations of falsifying financial records and breach of trust at alliance partner Nissan.
The new board members are:
- Ali Kassai, who is promoted to head of product planning and programs to succeed Ancelin. Kassei is currently senior vice president, product planning and has worked at Renault since 1990 in research, engineering and management positions.
- Laurens van den Acker, head of design. Van den Acker joined Renault in 2009 after working at Audi, Ford and Mazda.
- Veronique Sarlat-Depotte, alliance head of purchasing. She joined Renault in 1989 and moved to Nissan in 2003, where she was executive assistant to Ghosn, CEO at the time. In 2009 she moved to management of the alliance's combined purchasing organization, and became head of alliance purchasing in 2016, a role that now also covers Mitsubishi.
- Philippe Guerin-Boutaud, head of quality and customer satisfaction. Guerin-Boutaud returned to Renault two years ago after a stint with Nissan as program director for small and compact models, and kei cars. He later directed Nissan's light-commercial vehicles business unit. He joined Renault in 1989.
- Francois Renard, head of global marketing. He joined Renault last November after holding management positions at Unilever and Kate Somerville, a cosmetics brand.
- Francois Roger, head of human resources. Roger worked in management at the executive search firm Korn Ferry, the cleaning products company SC Johnson, Novartis, General Electric Healthcare and BIC before joining Renault in June 2018.
- Frederic Vincent, chairman of Renault Digital and head of group information systems. Vincent began his career at Bouygues Telecom and worked in multimedia-focused positions at TF1 and Canal Plus. He joined Renault in 2016 as chief information officer.
Other executives who have left the board since last spring include:
- Marie-Francoise Damesin, former head of human resources, who left her position last August. An internal investigation in the wake of Ghosn's arrest has reportedly found large monthly payments to Damesin. in exchange for a noncompete agreement, according to Bloomberg. Her exit package was said to be under review, Bloomberg said.
- Thierry Koskas, former head of sales and marketing, who left the automaker.
Ghosn resigned as Renault chairman and CEO in January while he was in detention in Japan awaiting his trial, which could be months away. He was replaced as chairman by former Michelin CEO Jean-Dominique Senard. Bollore, Ghosn's former deputy, was promoted to CEO at the same time, creating a dual leadership.
Ghosn had already been stripped off his leadership roles at Nissan and Mitsubishi following his arrest in Tokyo in November.
Renault and Nissan on Tuesday announced a new four-member Alliance Operating Board to oversee all operations at the partnership.
Reuters and Bloomberg contributed to this report