DECEMBER 15, 2004
A big change at Renault
Renault chairman Louis Schweitzer has announced a major restructuring of the company prior to the arrival next year of the new chairman Carlos Ghosn and although Patrick Faure will disappear from the executive committee it seems that he will be staying on in his role as head of the company's Formula 1 programme. Faure will have less to do at Renault and so will probably play a bigger role in the F1 activities.
The decision has been made by Schweitzer in collaboration with Ghosn but it remains to be seen whether this will be a long term arrangement. Faure is 58 years old and coming up to retirement age in France. He has been a member of Renault's executive committee since 1987.
The move is part of a big shake-up which will see the departure of five of the seven members of the committee (including Schweitzer) in the next six months. The commercial director Francois Hinfray is to go, to be replaced by Patrick Blain, who is currently in charge of European sales. Also out is Pierre-Alain de Smedt, who runs the industrial side of the business and Georges Douin (product planning). Jean-Louis Ricaud will be appointed Executive Vice President, Quality and Engineering and Michel Gornet will be appointed Executive Vice President, Manufacturing.
It is not clear what their attitudes are towards Formula 1 but whatever else happens it is fair to say that Faure will have less power than was once the case. With Faure still in charge there is a possibility that Flavio Briatore will stay on beyond the end of his existing contract, which runs out at the end of 2005. Faure and Briatore have enjoyed very close links since they first did business together back in 1993 when Briatore negotiated a complicated deal to get Renault engines for the Benetton team.
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