Carlos Tavares, chief operating officer of Renault SA (EPA:RNO) resigned after publicly stating his intention to pursue the top post in U.S. car manufacturers, General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) or Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F).


According to the press statement of Renault SA, its CEO Carlos Ghosn will temporarily takeover the responsibilities of Tavares, who will “cease his functions of chief operating officer to pursue other personal projects.” The company did not provide details regarding its management organization plans, but said it will make decisions soon.

In an interview with Bloomberg on August 14, Tavares expressed his interest in leading either General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) or Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) because Ghosn wants to remain as CEO of Renault SA (EPA:RNO) in the years ahead.

“We have a big leader and he is here to stay. Anyone who is passionate about the auto industry comes to a conclusion that there is a point where you have the energy and appetite for a No. 1 position,” said the Tavares during the interview.

“My experience would be good for any car company. Why not GM? I would be honored to lead a company like GM,” he added.

Tavares joined Renault more than 30 years ago

Tavares joined Renault SA (EPA:RNO) as a test driving engineer more than 30 years ago, and moved up through the ranks. He was named COO after Patrick Pelata stepped down due to controversies that led to the wrongful dismissal of three senior managers. Tavares also served as chief of North American Operations of Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. (OTCMKTS:NSANY) (TYO:7201), an alliance partner of Renault.

Tavares helped Renault SA (EPA:RNO) to deliver unexpected profit growth during the first half of the year amid the weak deliveries within the industry in the European region due to labor cost reductions and higher vehicle prices. He was also responsible for reaching a deal with unions to reduce the company’s workforce in France by 17% and freeze wages in exchange for not shutting down its domestic plants for three years.

Jen Schattner, analyst at Macquarie Europe Ltd, described Tavares as a “very well regarded, very respected manager, with a clear focus on costs and profitability.”

Greg Martin, spokesperson at General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) told Bloomberg that Tavares is not joining the car-maker. “He’s not coming here,” said Martin.

On the other hand, John Cooney, spokesperson at Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) said the car manufacturer does not discuss its succession plans externally because of competitive reasons.