Ghosn likely to step down as Renault CEO before term ends, report says

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Renault"s Carlos Ghosn is likely to step down as CEO of the French automaker before the end of his term in 2022, the Financial Times reported on Thursday.

Ghosn, 64, would remain chairman of Renault and continue as CEO and chairman of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance responsible for driving the three groups closer to being a single global entity, the FT reported.

"You can suspect before 2022 I will stop being CEO of Renault," Ghosn told the paper.

Renault was not immediately available for further comment.

Ghosn is spearheading efforts to combine Nissan and Renault to strengthen their lopsided two-decade-old alliance as the industry shifts to meet new challenges in an era of self-driving and electric vehicles. Last year, Ghosn handed over the day-to-day running of Nissan to Hiroto Saikawa.

In September, the alliance unveiled a 2022 midterm plan that targeted increasing annual synergies to more than 10 billion euros ($11.8 billion), up from 5 billion in 2016.

It’s not the first time the manager, once nicknamed “Le Cost Killer,” has hinted he may reduce the number of hats he’s wearing. In 2012, Ghosn told McKinsey he didn’t intend to keep working as much as he was into his 60s. At the start of the year, he already alluded to stepping down as Renault’s CEO. Continuing to manage the three companies is not “sustainable,” he told French lawmakers at a January hearing on industrial policy.

In February, the board of Renault “ renewed its confidence” in Ghosn as chairman and CEO of the company. The recommendation is to be submitted to a shareholders meeting on Friday. This year, the company appointed Thierry Bollore, 54, as Renault’s COO, putting him in line for the CEO post.

The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance is piloted by a Dutch-registered management company with no direct shareholder oversight or independent administrators -- a sore point for some investors.

Bloomberg contributed to this report.

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