Renault New Co-Chiefs Say First Job Is Completing Project

Renault SA’s two new top executives said they’ll focus completing the French carmaker’s strategy for boosting cash flow and sales growth as Europe’s automotive market lingers near a two-decade low.

“We will finalize the 2014-2016 plan before the end of the year,” Thierry Bollore, who was appointed chief competitive officer Sept. 9, said yesterday in an interview at the International Motor Show in Frankfurt.

Bollore, 50, and Chief Performance Officer Jerome Stoll, 59, were promoted to their newly created positions in a reorganization following the departure of Chief Operating Officer Carlos Tavares last month. The executives pledged yesterday to achieve the 2 billion-euro ($2.65 billion) cumulative free cash-flow target that Boulogne-Billancourt, France-based Renault set three years ago for the current 2010-2013 planning period.

The project for the coming three-year period, dubbed 2016 Drive the Change, will include goals of maintaining free cash flow and guaranteeing the growth of Renault in markets beyond Europe, where the group ranks third in sales.

“We aim to sell 55 percent to 60 percent of our vehicles outside Europe by 2016,” Stoll, who will be responsible for marketing and sales, said in a separate interview in Frankfurt.

Nissan Ties

Looking into further joint work with Japanese partner Nissan Motor Co. will be key in yielding more savings, said Bollore, who will oversee developing and manufacturing of vehicles at Renault.

Both executives will report to Chief Executive Officer Carlos Ghosn, who also runs Yokohama-based Nissan and wants to generate 4 billion euros in additional earnings between the two manufacturers by 2016.

Stoll joined Renault in 1980 and previously handled group sales. Bollore started his career at Michelin & Cie. in 1990 as a shop manager in a heavy-truck tire factory and spent the following 15 years at the company. He then joined the emission and control technologies division of Faurecia SA in 2005 before being hired by Renault in September of last year.

Renault eliminated the chief operating officer position after the resignation of Tavares, who made public a wish to run General Motors Co. or Ford Motor Co. in an interview with Bloomberg. The new management organization broadens the operating responsibilities of Ghosn ahead of a decision next year by the French automaker’s board on whether to extend the CEO’s contract.

Bollore’s competitiveness group will be responsible for creating an “attractive product range,” ensuring vehicle quality and holding back costs, Renault said on Sept. 3. The sales executives in the so-called performance group will focus on market share and “profitability of sales.”

Tavares became COO two years ago after predecessor Patrick Pelata quit over a botched corporate spying investigation in which three senior managers were wrongfully dismissed. Pelata was the first person to hold the post, which was created in 2008.

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