The CEO of French transport and infrastructure group Alstom, Henri Poupart-Lafarge, has been approached to take the CEO post at Renault, a French business news television channel said.
Poupart-Lafarge could win out against the other two potential candidates, Luca de Meo, head of Volkswagen Group's Seat brand, and Patrick Koller, head of the supplier Faurecia, BFM Business reported on Friday, citing several sources.
Until now de Meo, an Italian who started his career at Renault before working for Toyota and Fiat, had been considered the front runner for the post.
French media reports have said that de Meo is Renault Chairman Jean-Dominique Senard's choice for the CEO post while the French government, which owns 15 percent of the automaker, favors Koller.
Poupart-Lafarge's record at Alstom is good and the company's board of directors does not want him to leave, BFM said. Renault's interim CEO Clotilde Delbos was appointed to Alstom's board last year.
"Taking the lead at Renault with the difficulties of the car market and the tensions with Nissan is not very attractive," a person familair with the matter told the television channel. Another said: "Obviously he's interested in the job, Renault is much bigger than Alstom."
A drawback could be that Poupart-Lafarge has never worked in the auto industry.
France's Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire is supporting Faurecia's Koller because he has a French-German background and is familiar with the challenges that face the auto industry, BFM said.
Koller might be interested in the Renault post because PSA Group, which owns a 46 percent stake in Faurecia, would offload its stake in the supplier under a merger between PSA and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.
Renault will hold a board meeting on Tuesday to work on the CEO appointment, BFM said.
Renault is close to finalizing the shortlist of names for the post, Senard said on Dec. 2.
Renault has been searching for a new CEO since its board ousted Thierry Bollore in October, as the automaker and its partner, Nissan, clear the decks of managers closely associated with the Carlos Ghosn era.
Reuters contributed to this report