PARIS — French car maker Groupe Renault has confirmed the appointment of Michelin Group CEO Jean-Dominique Senard as its new chairman and interim CEO Thierry Bollore as the new CEO to replace Carlos Ghosn, who's in custody in Japan under suspicion of various compensation manipulations.
Mr. Senard, with the backing of all participants in Michelin's governance system, has agreed to take the Renault post, effective Jan. 24. He will continue to serve as Michelin CEO until his term expires in May, when Florent Menegaux — Mr. Senard's designated successor — will assume the CEO's job officially. He already has taken on an increasingly significant role in steering the group in cooperation with Mr. Senard, Michelin said.
Renault's board of directors has decided to give the new chairman "full responsibility" in liaison with the CEO for managing the Alliance with Nissan Motor co. on behalf of Renault, the French car maker said.
As Renault replaces Mr. Ghosn, the emerging leadership tandem likely will split his responsibilities in line with the wishes of France, its most powerful shareholder.
Mr. Senard, Michelin's CEO since 2012, will be charged with smoothing out the strained relationship with partner Nissan, a person familiar with the matter said. Mr. Bollore, who was serving as interim CEO, will now handle daily operations as permanent CEO.
Renault's board met Jan. 24 to appoint new leadership following the resignation of Mr. Ghosn after 14 years as CEO and a decade as chairman.
French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said this week that the government favored dual leadership atop the companies in which it holds a stake, with the chairman overseeing long-term strategic planning. France owns 15 percent of Renault, with extra voting rights and two seats on the board. A Renault spokesman declined to comment.
"(Mr.) Senard would make an excellent chairman" for Renault, Mr. Le Maire told BFM TV on Tuesday, underlining the government's esteem for the 65-year-old executive.
Mr. Ghosn, 64, has been in custody in Japan since Nov. 19, when police boarded his jet shortly after it landed at Tokyo's Haneda airport. He's been charged with understating his income by tens of millions of dollars at Nissan and transferring personal trading losses to the company. If convicted, he could face decades in jail. He has denied wrongdoing.
Mr. Ghosn's downfall has roiled the pact between Nissan and Renault that the globe-trotting executive held together for two decades. Mitsubishi Motors Corp. joined in 2016. All three companies have said the alliance is essential to remain competitive at a time of costly changes sweeping through the industry, from the decline of diesel cars to the enormous investment required for electric and autonomous vehicles.