PARIS -- New Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn is forming cross-department teams of bright, young minds at the French carmaker.
The teams are expected to bring a fresh, unconventional perspective to areas of the company that Ghosn thinks might need a shake-up.
Ghosn set up hundreds of so-called cross-functional teams when he was sent by former Renault CEO Louis Schweitzer to fix nearly bankrupt Nissan in 1999.
Seven teams have been created at Renault since Ghosn succeeded Schweitzer as CEO in April, a company source said.
The teams typically include seven to 10 people. They work together for varying amounts of time -- it all depends on the task they are assigned.
Known within the company as CFTs, the teams operate outside established hierarchies.
Renault declined to comment on the issues the teams are tackling.
But Scott Vazin, Nissan Europe's spokesman, described how the teams work at Renault's Japanese alliance partner.
"The system forces people to start from a clean sheet, without prejudice," said Vazin. "Some teams are short-lived to solve a one-off problem. Others are quasi-permanent."
One of Nissan's cross-functional teams focuses on helping women fill more top executive positions at the company. This team is headed by Nissan design boss Shiro Nakamura rather than by a human resources executive.
Vazin was part of a Nissan team tasked with improving the automaker's fleet management business.
Ghosn is taking his time assessing Renault's strengths and weaknesses. Part of his personal internal investigation of the company includes visiting Renault's operations around the world.
The CEO is expected to unveil his future plan for Renault at the end of this year or early next year. Some observers expect the plan to be announced in February to coincide with the release of the automaker's 2005 results.
Issues said to be on Ghosn's agenda are boosting synergies between Renault and Nissan, better capacity utilization, and future plans for the SUV, premium and large-car segments.
Renault owns 44 percent of Nissan and Nissan owns 15 percent of Renault.