Peugeot head Varin wants former Renault COO Tavares to replace him - sources

By Rizza Sta. Ana

Nov 25, 2013 04:39 AM EST

Two sources who disclosed to Bloomberg said PSA Peugeot Citroen Chief Executive Officer Philippe Varin will engage with former Renault SA Chief Operating Officer Carlos Tavares regarding his planned retirement from his post next year. Varin reportedly wanted Tavares to succeed him CEO of Peugeot, the sources added.

The sources also said Varin wanted Tavares to aid him first while the former wraps up talks with Dongfeng Motor regarding expansion of its existing partnership. The sources refused to be identified as the process had not been made public. One of the sources said Tavares has yet to sign a contract with Peugeot and that the automaker's company board would have to approve such agreement.

When asked for comment about the report, Peugeot spokesman Pierre-Olivier Salmon refused to provide one.

Peugeot was put on the spotlight after reporting an operating loss of EUR100 million or USD690 million in the first six months of the year. Its partnership with Dongfeng or another company was meant to severe its reliance in the European market. Peugeot's sales in Europe account for more than half of its total sales.

People who were familiar with the matter said last month that Peugeot put up a EUR3 billion capital increase proposal, of which the state of France and Dongfeng would be able to acquire 20% of the automaker each. The proposal reportedly was stalled as Dongfeng intended to only take a smaller stake, said the people who were familiar with the proceedings last week. The same sources also said DongFeng was mulling over a 10% ownership stake in the automaker, which was half of the stake size of the original proposal, as Dongfeng wanted to expand an existing venture than making an acquisition.

International Strategy & Investment Group automotive analyst Erich Hauser said in an email, "If PSA wants to raise equity then I think it makes sense to show to the market that you're willing to make some big changes. Putting in place a new CEO would send just that message to investors and Dongfeng."

Tavares did not respond to Bloomberg's request for a comment regarding the matter.

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