French government may back Michelin CEO for Renault chairman: paper

Jean-Dominique Senard, Michelin Chief Executive Officer, attends a news conference to present the company’s 2017 annual results in Paris, France, February 12, 2018. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

PARIS (Reuters) – The French government is considering backing Michelin (MICP.PA) chief executive Jean-Dominique Senard for the chairmanship of Renault (RENA.PA), replacing embattled CEO Carlos Ghosn, Le Figaro reported on Sunday, citing several sources.

The government is the carmaker’s biggest shareholder, with a 15 percent stake and two board seats.

“He ticks all the boxes. He is available, he is an industry person, an expert in the sector, he is highly regarded by the government, and he has an international stature,” Le Figaro quoted one of the sources as saying of Senard.

A Renault spokesman declined to comment. Officials at Michelin were not immediately available.

Reuters reported exclusively on Dec. 14 that the French government was seeking candidates to replace Ghosn.

Ghosn was arrested on Nov. 19 and has been formally charged with understating his compensation by about half of the 10 billion yen ($88 million) he was awarded over five years from 2010 as chairman of Japan’s Nissan (7201.T).

While Renault has until now kept Ghosn as CEO, Nissan ousted him on Nov. 22.

Nissan is 43.4 percent-owned by Renault. While almost 60 percent bigger by sales, it remains the junior partner in their shareholding alliance with a smaller reciprocal 15 percent non-voting stake in its French parent.

Reporting by Matthias Blamont; Editing by Catherine Evans

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