UPDATE 1-Renault board to meet, as CEO skirts departure reports

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FILE PHOTO: Renault CEO Thierry Bollore attends the 89th Geneva International Motor Show in Geneva, Switzerland March 5, 2019. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

PARIS (Reuters) – Renault’s (RENA.PA) CEO Thierry Bollore skirted the matter of his potential exit from the firm in a conversation with staff on Thursday, two company sources said, as the carmaker said it was calling a board meeting on Friday to discuss governance matters.

A source close to the French government – a major Renault shareholder – earlier this week confirmed that a senior management shake-up at Renault was on the cards. Le Figaro newspaper reported that chairman Jean-Dominique Senard was poised to kick off a process to replace Bollore.

Speaking to staff on Thursday in an internal video exchange, Bollore referred to the media buzz and said that what mattered for the company was its alliance with Nissan (7201.T), and that it was “not a question of people”, the Renault sources said.

He avoided going into further details, however, only saying he had met with Senard earlier on Thursday, and referred all matters to the board.

Renault declined to comment. Separately, the company said in a statement it would hold a board meeting on corporate governance issues on Oct. 11.

The company, like its alliance partner Nissan, is still reeling from the arrest last year of former boss Carlos Ghosn on allegations of financial misconduct, which he denies.

Bollore, for a long time Ghosn’s right-hand man, was promoted to help steady Renault earlier this year, while Senard was hired from Michelin to chair the group.

As well as stabilising the alliance with Nissan, Senard was tasked with shaking up Renault’s governance, which he had yet to do.

Reporting by Gilles Guillaume; Writing by Benoît Van Overstraeten and Matthieu Protard; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta/Sarah White/David Evans

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