PARIS - PSA/Peugeot-Citroen is looking for a leader after CEO Jean-Martin Folz's surprise announcement that he would retire early next year at age 60.
Who will replace Folz is wide open. He left no heir apparent after nine years atop the automaker.
Since the mid-1960s the Peugeot family, which controls PSA with 45 percent of voting rights and 30 percent of equity, has selected someone from outside to run the company.
"I see a 50-50 chance for Folz's successor to be picked outside the company," said a PSA executive who asked not to be named.
Folz was hired from food company Eridania Beghin-Say.
Within the company, five potential candidates are most frequently cited.
At the top of the list are Peugeot Managing Director Frederic Saint-Geours and his counterpart at Citroen, Claude Satinet. Both report to Folz.
The three make up PSA's management committee. But naming one of them could upset the fragile balance between PSA's rival brands.
Another possibility is Robert Peugeot, PSA's 56-year-old head of innovation and quality. But besides his job at the automaker, he also heads FFP, the family's holding company that controls PSA.
PSA head of platforms and purchasing Gilles Michel, 50, hired three years ago from glassmaker Saint-Gobain, has the right academic qualifications and worked several years in the United States.
The new head of Faurecia, PSA's captive parts supplier, also could fit the part of PSA boss but not immediately. Gregoire Olivier, 45, must first prove himself at Faurecia. c
You may e-mail Sylviane de Saint-Seine at [email protected]