There are some pretty wild figures flying around in France at the moment concerning any possible compensation to Renault’s three sacked execs.
Anything up to a staggering EUR11m (US$15.7m) for the Renault three has been bandied about, with even the suggestion that one of them may be returning to work at the automaker. That should make for some interesting water cooler moments, although the manufacturer was not immediately available to comment.
But for a behemoth such as Renault, although that EUR11m sounds absolutely huge, it’s rather small beer in the grand scheme of things for a company that booked net income of EUR3.5bn for last year.
It’s clearly the reputational ripples spreading out from the whole extraordinary ‘spy’ affair that will have the bean counters looking at the share price with some keen interest.
To try and make sure such an utterly bizarre train of events is not set in motion again, Renault has hired some serious A league heavyweights to restore its battered reputation.
Among them are Alain Bauer, Professor of Criminology at the Conservatoire Général des Arts et Métiers and Alain Juillet, senior advisor in the firm of Orrick Rambaud Martel, who have been drummed in to organise the draft reorganisation of the tools needed for the “protection of the assets of the company.”
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A tall order you might think, but a glance at Bauer’s CV reveals a serial achiever at the highest echelons of French government, as well as other high-powered bodies, but he does appear to retain a loyal streak to his paymasters.
Speaking on French radio station RTL yesterday (18 April), Bauer made the rather startling observation that Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn had been a “victim” in the so-called spy affair.
The three sacked executives might take a rather different view of their former boss being labelled the victim in the matter that now has teams of lawyers anticipating many noughts on their clients’ compensation claim cheques.
Bauer also loyally said he understood why Ghosn, as “captain of a ship, does not step down in the middle of a storm” which will potentially irk his number two, Patrick Pelata who became a victim of that storm recently by voluntarily stepping down.
Perhaps even more surprising, given his closeness to French president Nicolas Sarkozy, who he advises, Bauer replied “absolutely not” when asked if the head of state had revealed his views on Renault.
Why on earth wouldn’t the French president have a view on one of France’s premier brands and largest employers?
There’s a French presidential election next year, perhaps Bauer is determined to retain the confidence of both his high-ranking bosses.