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France's Le Maire favours car industry professional as next Renault CEO

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire attends a news conference to kick off the France's national lottery operator Francaise des Jeux (FDJ) listing with the opening of the share subscription process in Boulogne-Billancourt, near Paris, France, November 7, 2019. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes/File Photo

PARIS (Reuters) - French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Sunday that the search for a new CEO for Renault was still on and that he favoured selecting a professional from the automobile sector.

“I can confirm the next CEO has not yet been chosen. The only indication I can give you is that I wish it is a professional of the car industry because amid the radical transformation of the sector, one needs professionals,” Le Maire told BFM television.

The French carmaker, chaired by Jean-Dominique Senard, a former executive at tyre maker Michelin who was parachuted in following the Carlos Ghosn scandal, is expected to choose a new CEO by the end of the year so that the group can try and fully refocus on its operations.

The French state has a 15% stake in Renault.

Renault’s interim chief executive Clotilde Delbos has applied to take the job on a permanent basis, two sources familiar with the matter have said, as the carmaker edges towards a shortlist likely to also feature several external candidates.

One of the sources had said that Patrick Koller, the Franco-German CEO of car parts maker Faurecia , and Luca de Meo, the Italian boss of Volkswagen-owned SEAT, also ticked many of the boxes for recruiters, including that they both spoke French.

Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Susan Fenton