Permutations in Renault. The French Automotive Group has announced the appointment of Fabrice Kamboliv as Chief Commercial Officer (COO) of the Renault brand… In other words, he becomes second in the company’s hierarchy after the CEO and implements the operational strategy. At the same time, the framework of Fabrice Cambolivet, so far responsible sales, gives him the chairmanship of the Renault brand management committee. For his part, Luca de Meo will retain his CEO position, but will assume strategic responsibility at the level of the Renault Group, which also includes Dacia and Alpine, and at the level of the Renault-Nissan alliance.
New Volkswagen-style organization
In fact, this reshuffle says a lot about Renault’s evolution, as well as what’s to come.
Recall that until 2020, all brands were under the control of the same centralized management. When Luca de Meo took over the group in July 2020, one of the first decisions was to reorganize the company into brands, each independently managed like Volkswagen, where he even led the Seat brand himself. So he named Denis Le Vot, general manager of Dacia, and Cyril Abiteboul at the head of Alpine, and a few months later the latter was replaced by Laurent Rossi. Renault, he remained at the head of Luca de Meo, who, in fact, combined the positions of general manager of the group and the brand of the same name, while Jean-Dominique Senard was the president of the group and was in charge of business with Nissan allies. and Mitsubishi.
“Luca de Meo had to be in direct contact with the brand when he joined the group to immerse himself in the home culture…,” one company executive told La Tribune. “But the days are only 24 hours, and with more and more files to process, he needed to be able to rely on someone reliable to guide the strategic plan in the field,” the source continues. with the indication: Fabrice Kambolive fits the bill: he has a good experience in the house, strong legitimacy, he understood the logic of the Renolution plan…”.
Head full of construction sites
For Luca de Meo, this is a sign that his organization is mature enough to let go of the situation and embark on new projects. Especially since the boss has his head full: internationalization, a plan to separate thermal and electrical activities, the contours of which are being evaluated, or even the question of rebalancing the alliance with Nissan through the possible sale of a partial 44% stake in the capital of the Japanese. In any case, the question of the Alliance will remain unfinished, since, according to many analysts, the fields of industrial synergy are still far from being fully exploited.
Is the succession of Jean-Dominique Senard open?
It is impossible not to put these projects and this reorganization into perspective with the end of Jean-Dominique’s mandate in 2023. Then, at the age of 70, it can be legally renewed, even if it soon reaches the age limit (72 years). The charter does not prevent election for a term of office when this exceeds the age limit, and does not anticipate nor interrupt it within this deadline. The question remains open about a new mandate that will allow him to stand at the helm until the age of 74, and therefore about his succession.
This has internal implications, of course, but also tactics, as the Japanese at Nissan will have to be spared. Finally, she will have to enlist the support of the French government, which remains Renault’s largest shareholder (15% of the capital) and still retains the right to control its strategic decisions.