PARIS - Francois Castaing is expected to be appointed this week to Valeo's board of directors by the shareholders' general assembly.
Castaing is a former Chrysler Corp. executive vice president for international operations and general manager for powertrain. He would replace Daniel Lebegue, a French banker, on the Valeo board.
Castaing says he will not take an executive position at Valeo. He still works for Chrysler as a special adviser to the chairman.
Castaing, 53, is respected in France because of his achievements with Renault Sport, AMC-Jeep and Chrysler. He began his career in 1970 with Renault, moved to American Motors in 1982 and then to Chrysler in 1987.
Valeo, with 1997 global sales of $5.6 billion, is one of the top 20 global suppliers, and it is considered one of the most efficient and profitable French companies, thanks to Noel Goutard's tough rule since he became chairman in 1987.
After Castaing left Chrysler top management last December, many wondered about his next move. At the same time, questions have been raised about Goutard's succession at Valeo. His contract expires in 1999, but it can be renewed until 2001, when he reaches Valeo's mandatory retirement age of 70.
Last fall, he appointed two new group senior vice presidents: Bernard de Monseignat and Thierry Morin, both 45.
'By singling out two young executives, Goutard shows he is preparing for the future,' said a Paris-based analyst.
Castaing now is a technical adviser to Chrysler Chairman Robert Eaton. He denies any link between his appointment to Valeo's board and a future management job in the company.
'I will not move to France,' Castaing told Automotive News Europe. 'I will keep going with my U.S. activities.'