Carlos Ghosn, Head Of Nissan, Takes Control Of Renault Friday

The leadership of the 107-year-old French automaker Renault will fall into the hands of Carlos Ghosn, currently head of Nissan on April 29. Ghosn, 51, is to succeed Louis Schweitzer, currently Renault chairman and chief executive, at a Renault shareholders' meeting according to an agreement worked out in 2002. Ghosn will retain his position as Nissan chief executive while Schweitzer stay on as Renault chairman. Renault owns 44.4% of Nissan, which in turn controls 15% of Renault.

Ghosn went to work for Renault in 1996 and was entrusted by the company in 1999 to save Nissan at a time when it was in rapid decline, with billions of dollars in debt and a plunging market share. Today, Nissan is the number two domestic carmaker, after Toyota, in terms of capitalization -- and is twice as large as Renault in sales.

To manage Renault and Nissan, which are based 10,000 kilometers (6,200 miles) apart and have a combined 300,000 employees, Ghosn intends to spend 40% of his time at Renault's Paris headquarters and 40% at Tokyo-based Nissan, with the remainder in the U.S. and elsewhere. He has given himself six months to re-acquaint himself with the inner workings of Renault before delivering his assessment of future moves.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2005

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