Luca de Meo, until recently the CEO of Volkswagen-owned SEAT (VOW.DE), is set to become the chief executive of Renault (RNO.PA). Reuters reports that the French automaker’s board is expected to meet and confirm de Meo’s nomination later today.
Earlier this month Milan-born De Meo resigned from Seat, which had thrived under his leadership, increasing both sales and profitability. He joined the Volkswagen Group in 2009 from Fiat, and was the marketing head for the VW brand, before becoming the board member for sales and marketing at Audi.
Renault will be hoping that its new CEO can draw a line under the Carlos Ghosn scandal as well as boosting the car-maker’s struggling sales. Ghosn, who helmed the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance, was arrested on financial misconduct allegations in Japan in November 2018. He jumped bail whilst under house arrest in Tokyo in December 2019 and fled to Beirut, Lebanon.
In a press conference earlier this month, Ghosn, formerly one of the most powerful men in the industry, accused Nissan of plotting to oust him and of colluding with the Japanese prosecutor to have him imprisoned. Ghosn said the plot was linked to Nissan’s (NSANY) declining performance in 2017, which he blamed on former Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa.
De Meo, 52, will have the challenging task of patching up the frayed 20-year relationship between Renault and Nissan, which has been teetering on the verge of collapse.
Renault chairman Jean-Dominique Senard recently denied media reports that Nissan was looking to extricate itself from the cost-sharing partnership with Renault. Shares in both companies have plunged amidst declining sales and ongoing rumours of a split.