TaMo appoints former Renault chief JLR CEO

MUMBAI: Tata Motors has named former Renault chief Thierry Bollore as the new CEO of its UK auto arm Jaguar Land Rover (JLR). The move indicates chairman N Chandrasekaran’s preference for an external candidate to steer the unit, which is an important flagship within the Tata Group.
Chandrasekaran selected Bollore after almost a six-month search through recruitment firm Egon Zehnder. A French national, Bollore, 57, will succeed Ralf Speth, who has been JLR’s CEO for a decade. Tata Motors had earlier planned to extend Speth’s term by a year, but the idea was dropped.
Speth will move on to the role of non-executive vice-chairman of JLR from September 10. The Tata Group has occasionally created the non-executive vice-chairman’s position in operating companies to acknowledge an executive’s contribution to the business and to seek his expertise guidance, while continuing to remain on the board till the retirement age of 70 years. In the past, the group had made R K Krishnakumar, S Ramadorai and B Muthuraman the vice-chairman of Indian Hotels, TCS and Tata Steel, after they served as the CEO of the respective units.
Bollore has spent his entire career at French companies, starting at tyre maker Michelin and then at automotive component supplier Faurecia and later at Renault. He joined Renault in 2012, where he rose to become its CEO in January 2019 after predecessor Carlos Ghosn was taken into custody over alleged financial wrongdoings. Nine months later, Bollore was dismissed in a boardroom coup as Renault wanted to save its relationship with Japanese partner Nissan.
At JLR, Bollore will have to turn the English carmaker’s performance around. The company reported a pre-tax loss of 400 million pounds in fiscal 2020. Demand for new passenger vehicles remains under pressure as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. The success of JLR is key for the Tata Group, which had acquired the British unit in 2008 from Ford. Brokerage firm CLSA had said that Tata Motors is worth nothing without JLR.

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