February 12, 2018 / 2:48 PM / a year ago

France backs Renault COO nomination, seeks Nissan integration

PARIS, Feb 12 (Reuters) - The French government said on Monday it will back Renault boss Carlos Ghosn’s nominee for chief operating officer but wants an agreement to transform the Renault-Nissan alliance into an “integrated” automotive group.

The French state, Renault’s biggest shareholder, sees Chief Performance Officer Thierry Bollore’s promotion to second-in-command “in a positive light”, a finance ministry source told Reuters. But support for Ghosn’s own contract renewal may hinge on plans for a deeper tie-up with partner Nissan.

The ministry statement follows the surprise resignations of senior Renault director Thierry Desmarest and executive Stefan Mueller, days before a Feb. 15 board meeting at which Bollore’s appointment is expected to be discussed.

The departures came amid concerns raised by other independent board members about the recruitment process that led to the nomination of Bollore, a loyal Ghosn lieutenant, and the elimination of other internal and external candidates including Mueller, Reuters and Les Echos have reported. (Reporting by Laurence Frost and Gilles Guillaume Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)

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