After more than 12 years of acting as Groupe Renault’s CEO, Carlos Ghosn appears to have one foot out the door. The current CEO of the French automaker, as well as Chairman and CEO of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance hinted he might step down from his role in Renault as new strategies are built to ensure the future of all three automakers.
Although the Alliance’ strategy so far had been to have unified leadership, this approach cannot last according to Ghosn. “Regarding corporate governance, you will see changes in terms of separating the responsibilities of those dealing with Renault, with Nissan, with Mitsubishi and with the overall alliance,” he told to a French parliamentary finance commission on Wednesday.
Ghosn already resigned to the position of CEO of Nissan in April 2017 after helping the company grow its global presence and profit margins. At the meeting with the French commission, Ghosn also proclaimed the Alliance is the largest automotive group in terms of sales with 10.6 million units sold in 2017. Although Volkswagen reported sales of 10.7 million vehicles, Ghosn argued these figures included heavy trucks, which the Alliance does not.
Now, as all three carmakers prepare their new strategies, his role in each of them will depend on the alignment of his vision with those of the companies. “If we agree that I can contribute to this roadmap, we will go on,” he said. “If there’s no agreement on the roadmap, we’ll stop.”
FCA is also in the market for new leadership. Sergio Marchionne, who was appointed CEO of Fiat in 2004, CEO of Chrysler in 2009 and CEO of Ferrari and the newly created Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in 2014, has stated his desire to leave the company once his term ends in June 2018. “I am tired,” he told reporters at the North American International Auto Show 2018. “I want to do something else.”
Marchionne has played a crucial role in the group’s development, participating in the creation of FCA and steering Chrysler away from debt after declaring bankruptcy in 2009. The group is due to present its next five-year plan in June when it will also designate Marchionne’ successor who, according to the CEO, will have to lead FCA through a changing industry that threatens to commoditize vehicle production for companies that fail to innovate and distinguish their brand.
“This business has never been for the fainthearted,” Marchionne said in an interview with Bloomberg. “The technology changes that are coming are going to make it probably more challenging than it’s ever been (…) If you provide basic transportation (without added value) it is like buying a generic phone.”
The data used in this article was sourced from FCA, Nissan, Reuters, Automotive News Europe, Fortune and Bloomberg.