Renault Chairman and CEO Louis Schweitzer has always been a big-picture person, so it’s not surprising that the career memories that most stick out in his mind are of big deals – some good, some bad.
At a press conference to discuss Renault’s 2004 financial results, Schweitzer was asked to reflect on the best and worst moments during his nearly 20 years at the French automaker.
Schweitzer said his two worst moments were the failure of Renault’s planned merger with Sweden’s Volvo in 1993 and the 1996 decision to close Renault’s assembly plant in Vilvorde, Belgium.
One of his best moments was the sight of the Scenic 1 medium minivan – then a novel concept – as a full-sized hollow mock-up in the early 1990s.
“I knew immediately that it would be a hit,” he said.
His other top moment was when he learned that DaimlerChrysler would not bid for financially troubled Nissan, clearing the way for Renault to take a controlling interest in the Japanese automaker.
At the end of April, Schweitzer will relinquish his CEO role to Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn. He will become Renault’s non-executive chairman.