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Call for Renault chief's head

2011-03-16 13:47

GHOSN MUST GO: A spy drama continues to plague Renault amidst the latest calls the CEO Carlos Ghosn to step down.

Renault chief executive Carlos Ghosn has come under pressure after a dramatic climbdown and public apology after the collapse of an investigation into industrial espionage at the French automaker.

Socialist Party boss Martine Aubry told France Info radio she thought Ghosn should take responsibility for the debacle which has gripped France since news of executive sackings broke in January 2011.

"When an employee makes a mistake in a company, he does not have to apologise -- he is out," she said.

Government spokesman Francois Baroin also hit out at how the matter had been handled by Renault, which is 15 percent state-owned. "We must take all the consequences... from the incredible amateurism, the indignity, and the attack against these men," Baroin told LCI television.


Renault bosses had pledged to forgo their bonuses after the Paris prosecutor said the espionage case had no foundation. Renault apologised to the three falsely accused executives and offered to reinstate and compensate them.

Ghosn told prime-time TF1 TV news he had refused to accept the resignation of his right-hand man Patrick Pelata over the "sorry episode" as he "did not want to add one crisis to another".

Bertrand Rochette, one of the three men wrongly fired, said in a statement he had not yet been contacted by Ghosn, either directly or through his lawyers.

Renault, whose alliance partner is Japan's Nissan, fired the three men in January on suspicion of industrial espionage. They denied wrongdoing from the start and began legal action against the automaker.


A Renault security manager was recently placed under investigation for suspected fraud concerning the spying allegations.

"Renault is pressing charges and has filed for a civil action, in the case of organised fraud," the company said.

Renault also pledged to overhaul its governance, including a move to have its security division report directly to the executive committee, after an internal audit of what went wrong.

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