A key challenge for a new leader at Peugeot will be returning the French manufacturer, which reported a first-half operating loss of 510 million euros in its automotive unit, to profit. The carmaker is also working to reduce cash consumption by 50 percent this year to 1.5 billion euros.
Under Tavares, Renault reported unexpected growth in first- half profit as labor-cost reductions and higher vehicle prices more than offset an industrywide slump in European deliveries.
When Tavares oversaw North America for Nissan, 43 percent owned by Renault, he helped the company earn ￥209 billion (US$2.05 billion) in the region in the year ended March 2010, versus a ￥46.7 billion loss in 2009.
Peugeot first hired Varin as CEO in 2009, following the departure of Christian Streiff, and his contract was renewed by the supervisory board on March 12 for another four years.
Under Varin, Peugeot has cut investments, closed a factory on the outskirts of Paris and moved to eliminate 11,200 French jobs.
The CEO, who had not worked in the the auto industry before joining Peugeot, also cut the management board to four executives from six to streamline operations.
More recently, he signed a three-year labor agreement with the company’s unions to reduce overtime pay and freeze salaries in exchange for investment guarantees and a pledge not to close any French factories before 2016.