PARIS -- Renault on Friday named Clotilde Delbos as interim CEO after ending the tenure of Thierry Bollore following a boardroom vote.
Renault issued a statement saying Bollore, 56, would leave his role with immediate effect and that Delbos, 52, would be interim CEO during the process to appoint a new CEO.
Renault also named two deputies to back up Delbos -- top sales executive Olivier Murguet and a senior manufacturing and supply chain chief, Jose-Vicente de los Mozos.
Delbos is considered a steady hand at the embattled automaker, which has suffered a number of setbacks since former chairman and CEO Carlos Ghosn was arrested 11 months ago in Japan on allegations of financial misconduct, plunging the automaker's relations with Nissan into crisis.
Renault will begin looking for a permanent replacement, according to the statement. One recruiting firm was already identified to carry out a search, said two people with knowledge of the matter. The company didn't give a timetable for naming a permanent successor.
Delbos will be a candidate for the post of permanent CEO, sources told Bloomberg.
In addition, Renault's former chief operating officer, Patrick Pelata, who left his position after an espionage scandal but kept an advisory role at the Renault-Nissan alliance until last year, said he would be ready to help Renault temporarily "if this allows a faster or more serene transition" to a new management team.
Following Ghosn's arrest in November 2018, outsiders cited as possible replacements included Carlos Tavares, a former Renault executive who is now CEO of rival automaker PSA Group, and Airbus SE's former head of commercial aircraft, Fabrice Bregier, as well as Didier Leroy, a senior executive at Toyota.
"I'm not a candidate and I wasn't contacted," Leroy told Bloomberg. "I'm very happy at Toyota and I have the trust of Akio Toyoda." Toyoda is the president of Toyota Motor Corp.
In naming Delbos, Renault has chosen an insider in a bid to minimize further disruption at the automaker, which has been struggling over the past year to overcome the shock of Ghosn's arrest as well as a cooling of the global auto industry.
"This comes as another blow for a company that urgently needs direction and stability," Evercore ISI analyst Arndt Ellinghorst said in a note. "We are worried that Renault's competitive position will further erode in an automotive world that's getting tougher by the day."
Renault has been hit by the departures of a number of top executives, many of them moving to PSA, and a planned merger with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles collapsed in June after it failed to win the support of the French government, a major shareholder, and Nissan.
Delbos joined Renault in 2012 as group controller and was promoted to CFO in 2016. Before joining Renault she worked for auditors PwC and later for the Pechiney Group, Alcan and Constellium.
Bollore on Thursday denounced the move to oust him and defended his record in an interview with French newspaper Les Echos. He said he found out through the press that Renault Chairman Jean-Dominique Senard wanted him to leave and called on the French state, as a shareholder, not to destabilize the automaker.
"The brutality and totally unexpected nature of what's taking place are astonishing," Bollore told the newspaper. "On an operational level, I don't see where the fault lies."
Bollore has had tense relations with Senard and has been viewed negatively by Nissan and the French government as a holdover from the Ghosn era, media have reported. The French state holds a 15 percent stake in Renault.
Bollore served as Ghosn's No. 2 before he was promoted to CEO from COO in January.
Comments from French government officials laid the groundwork for a change atop Renault.
Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said Wednesday that he has full confidence in Senard and the board to choose "the best governance" to carry out the company's strategy. One of his deputies, Agnes Pannier-Runacher, said the state wants Senard to have a trusted team around him.
The abrupt Renault management changes follow a top management reshuffle at Nissan. Earlier this week Nissan named Makoto Uchida, 53, the head of its China joint venture, as CEO, to work alongside new Chief Operating Officer Ashwani Gupta, a former Renault executive.
The downfall of Ghosn, who held the two-decade-old Renault-Nissan alliance together, exposed poor corporate governance at Nissan and brought long-simmering tensions between the French and Japanese automakers to a boil.
Resolving their differences is a priority for Senard and would be a prerequisite to reviving merger discussions with Fiat Chrysler.
Bloomberg contributed to this report