Renault boss Carlos Ghosn is preparing to step back from his role at the helm of the French carmaker as the company looks to establish separate strategic and operational leadership roles across its three brands – Renault, Nissan, and Mitsubishi – in a bid to avoid concentrating power in a single person across all three companies.
The Brazilian-born executive already stood down as CEO of Nissan last year, but remains head of the Renault-Nissan alliance as a whole – which also includes Mitsubishi, thanks to Renault's 34 percent stake in the company – although his term in that role is set to come to an end this summer. Despite leaving his role of CEO at Nissan, he is still chairman of the company, as well as heading up the boards at Renault and Mitsubishi.
'Regarding corporate governance, you will see changes in terms of separating the responsibilities of those dealing with Renault, with Nissan, with Mitsubishi and with the overall alliance,' Ghosn told a French parliamentary commission last week. The French government remains Renault's largest shareholder despite offloading a bunch of shares last year.
'In the past, we had to do that to create the alliance, but I don’t think it’s something that can last,' Ghosn said, alluding to the plans to no longer have one person helm all three brands.
According to reports last summer, Ghosn has already laid the groundwork for his departure by hiring a new operational second-in-command for the Renault-Nissan alliance, while Renault began interviewing candidates for Ghosn's successor back in December.
Last year Renault-Nissan became the largest car manufacturing group in terms of car sales. Their tally of 10.6 million units sold was surpassed by Volkswagen – albeit by a mere 100,000, but that included the sales of heavy trucks too, something which wasn't included in Renault-Nissan's tally. Renault's truck-building operation hasn't actually been a part of Renault since 2001 and is currently owned by Volvo.