Renault’s second-in-command is stepping down, as are four other senior executives implicated in a spy scandal that has shaken up the French automaker – but CEO Carlos Ghosn has apparently been spared in a purge ordered by the maker’s largest shareholder, the French government.
Patrick Pelata will leave his post as Renault’s chief operating officer, though take on a more modest role with the Renault-Nissan Alliance, the maker’s partnership with Japan’s second-largest automaker. CEO Ghosn originally had refused to accept Pelata’s resignation but his second-in-command was forced out after French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde said those responsible for a messy spy scandal “must depart.”
The crisis was kicked off, early this year, when Renault ousted three senior executives involved with its aggressive electric vehicle program. An anonymous source had claimed they were being paid to leak critical information to the Chinese. But, after an investigation by French intelligence, it turned out the three executives were themselves victims of an attempted shakedown by members of Renault’s own security department.