An Indian-owned British automaker is about to land a French boss.
On Tuesday, Jaguar Land Rover parent Tata Motors announced the hiring of Thierry Bolloré, former CEO of Groupe Renault, as the automaker’s new CEO, replacing the retiring Sir Ralf Speth. The new boss arrives on September 10th.
Bolloré was ousted from his perch at Renault last October as the automaker sought to clean its upper ranks of Carlos Ghosn disciples. The executive’s firing came three days after he reportedly called for an independent audit of alliance partner Nissan’s internal probe into the fallen alliance boss.
“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,” said Natarajan Chandrasekaran, chairman of Tata Motors, in a statement.
Jaguar Land Rover’s outgoing CEO won’t depart the company entirely. Rather, Speth will assume the role of non-executive vice-chairman of Jaguar Land Rover. His knowledge might prove useful as Bolloré grabs the tiller in seas made choppy by market forces beyond any one CEO’s control.
“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,” Bolloré stated.
Testing is right. Even before the pandemic sunk revenues and boosted expenses worldwide, JLR was struggling to respond to the sudden market shift not just away from traditional passenger cars, but away from diesel propulsion — which formed the backbone of the company’s European fleet.
SUVs and electrification are what the company needs to succeed in that rapidly changing market, as well as in places like China, and Speth helped guide the automaker in that direction.
[Images: Lutsenko_Oleksandr/Shutterstock, Jaguar Land Rover]