Renault COO Tavares steps down after speaking about running GM or Ford image

Two weeks after publicly saying that he would like to run General Motors or Ford Motor, Renault No.2, Chief Operating Officer Carlos Tavares will step down from his post.

Renault said in a statement today that Tavares is leaving “in order to pursue other personal projects,” and CEO Carlos Ghosn will temporarily carry out Tavares’ duties pending changes in the automaker’s management organization, according to the company.

Tavares said in a Bloomberg interview published Aug. 14 that Ghosn planned to stay at Renault for the foreseeable future and therefore he was interested in running GM or Ford instead.

“We have a big leader and he is here to stay,” Tavares, 55, said in the interview. “Anyone who is passionate about the auto industry comes to a conclusion that there is a point where you have the energy and appetite for a No. 1 position.”

Tavares was appointed to the post two years ago after former COO Patrick Pelata had to resign over a botched spy scandal in which three senior managers were wrongfully dismissed. He joined Renault some 31 years ago as a test-driving engineer and moved up through the ranks to eventually run the North American operations of Nissan Motor Co., Renault’s alliance partner.