Carlos Ghosn Cedes Operational Control of Renault to Deputy

He will retain control of strategy and finance.

Renault chief executive Carlos Ghosn will hand the day-to-day running of the French auto-manufacturer to his number two, while retaining control of strategy and finance, the firm said Oct. 10. Patrick Pelata, formerly Renault's executive vice president for Europe, will be named chief operating officer. Pelata will remain head of the company's European management committee.

Renault's regional leaders will report to Pelata on operational matters, while Ghosn -- who remains chairman of the Renault-Nissan group -- will retain control of "strategic decisions, financial questions and public affairs".

The statement said the handover had long been planned and that "in a situation which makes it necessary to be closer to work on the ground, this evolution will strengthen the operational management of the company".

Renault's decision comes at a difficult moment for the auto industry which, after two years of high oil prices, now faces the effects of a global downturn. The company recently announced 6,000 job losses in Europe, where it employs 80,000 people. Some 4,900 of the cuts fell in France, where it faces protests and industrial action. The French state holds 15 percent of Renault's shares.

In August, Renault's global sales of cars and vans under its Renault, Dacia and Samsung marques fell by 5.8%.

Renault is half of the Renault-Nissan Alliance, a global automotive group linked by cross-shareholdings. With its Japanese partner, the joint operation is the world's fifth largest car maker with a nine percent market share.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2008

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