While not yet at the command of the PSA Peugeot Citroen auto giant, Tavares seems confident he will succeed in turning around the ailing carmaker.
PSA Peugeot Citroen’s recent business undertakings might become soon the subject of a good economical thriller, with Europe’s second biggest carmaker struggling to find back its fortunes amid Europe’s biggest slump in car sales. Making the headlines over and over again, PSA ultimately signed a deal to increase its capital by adding China’s Dongfeng and the French state among the owners, prompting an end to 200 years of Peugeot family reign.
The change will be complete on March 31 when Philippe Varin will be succeeded as CEO by Carlos Tavares – formerly the second in command, as CFO at the Renault Nissan alliance.
“It will be a tough challenge,” said Yves Dubreil, who worked with Tavares in the late 1990s. “The Peugeot-Dongfeng-French state troika is like having water, fire and earth together – three elements that are hard to unite.”
“There was a kind of blindness that Tavares now seems to be questioning,” said Bernard Jullien, director of French automotive think tank Gerpisa. “It took him less than three months to realize that. I find this very comforting.”
At the first analyst meeting that took place last month Tavares questioned Varin’s development cash spending – which is behind that of competitors, while saying he would see the company stop overlapping models in the Peugeot and Citroen line-ups, streamline costs further and focus on emerging markets.