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From July 1, Tavares will oversee Renault's growth strategy focused on developing electric vehicles and new markets. He will also develop sites in France, the car maker said.
He replaces Patrick Pelata, who resigned in April following a case of alleged industrial espionage which turned into a fraud investigation.
Tavares, 53, a Portuguese national who speaks fluent French and English, spent 23 years at Renault in engineering and program management roles before moving to Nissan in 2004.
Renault and Nissan Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn said in a statement: "His talent and experience will be key strengths for Renault and for all its employees as we go into the first year of our Renault 2016 -- Drive the Change program."
Like his boss Ghosn, a French citizen who was born in Brazil to a Lebanese father and French mother, Tavares has a multicultural background.
Separately, Nissan said Colin Dodge, currently Executive Vice President and Chief Performance Officer for Nissan and Chairman for Africa, the Middle East, India and Europe, will take on the additional responsibility of Chairman of the Americas region, effective June 13.
Reporting by Astrid Wendlandt; Editing by Catherine Bremer and James Dalgleish