The former boss of French car giant Renault has been appointed as chief executive of Jaguar Land Rover, the UK’s biggest carmaker.
Thierry Bolloré, who said he was the subject of a “strong-arm coup” when he was ousted as Renault chief executive in October 2019, will take over from Sir Ralf Speth as JLR’s CEO in September.
Bolloré, 57, will be tasked with guiding JLR through the car industry’s worst crisis in living memory as consumer demand for new cars plummeted amid the global economic crisis prompted by the coronavirus pandemic.
Natarajan Chandrasekaran, the chairman of India’s Tata conglomerate, which owns JLR, said: “I am delighted to welcome Thierry to Jaguar Land Rover. An established global business leader with a proven track record of implementing complex transformations, Thierry will bring a wealth of experience to one of the most revered positions in the industry.”
Bolloré said: “Jaguar Land Rover is known around the world for its peerless brand heritage, exquisite design and deep engineering integrity. It will be my privilege to lead this fantastic company through what continues to be the most testing time of our generation.
“Renowned for their passion and spirit, the people of Jaguar Land Rover are the driving force behind its success. I couldn’t be more excited to join the team continuing to shape the future of this iconic company.”
Bolloré was ousted from Renault after less than a year in the top job as the French carmaker sought “a breath of fresh air” following the arrest of Carlos Ghosn, its former boss, in a huge financial scandal in Japan. Ghosn presided over the global alliance between Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi.
At the time of his ousting in October, Bolloré, once a close associate of Carlos Ghosn, told the French business paper Les Echos that the “brutality and the totally unexpected nature of what is happening are staggering”.
“Operationally, I do not see where the fault is,” he said. “This coup is very worrying”.
Speth, 64, who has been CEO of JLR for a decade, will become non-executive vice chairman.
Chandrasekaran said: “I want to thank Ralf for a decade of outstanding vision and leadership for Jaguar Land Rover and welcome him to his new non-executive position in addition to his existing role on the board of Tata Sons.”