Carlos Tavares, Groupe PSA/FCA CEO announced today that effective immediately Vincent Cobée, current Deputy Citroën CEO, will succeed Linda Jackson as Citroën CEO and Member of the Global Executive Committee. The move comes citing that Vincent Cobée has a wide experience in international markets, essential for Citroën to succeed in its objective to grow internationally.
Citroën’s future and the possible reshuffling of Linda Jackson along with the addition of Vincent Cobée were covered in an article we published called “With FCA and PSA merged, what will Citroën’s future be?” on January 1, 2020.
The appointment of Cobée as Citroën CEO today, shows that Tavares, a self- described “psychopath performer” has made a decisive move to make Citroën an effective brand, but the question still remains where?
There will be a push into India and we expect to see an effort made to grow the brand in existing markets. Will it and the corporate merger of Groupe PSA with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles mean there will be a rethink about Citroën returning to North America? Most likely not, but changes at the DS brand today may signal that DS may have a presence here along with what Tavares has previously stated – that Peugeot will return to the USA and Canada.
Tavares also announced today that Béatrice Foucher, currently Deputy DS CEO, will succeed to Yves Bonnefont as DS CEO and Member of the Global Executive Committee saying that she has got a strong track record in product and electric vehicles, she especially led the internationalization of product portfolios.
Foucher replaces Yves Bonnefont and who like Linda Jackson will remain in the company but with a vastly diminished role.
In Linda Jackson’s case, she has been relegated to leading a study to clarify and support brand differentiation within a brand portfolio. Her role will cover:
- Brand clarification and coherence of Brand messages across the Group
- Brand differentiation within a brand portfolio
Yves Bonnefont has been assigned to lead a study on potential synergies within a portfolio of brands. His role will cover:
- Brands positioning from a customer and geographical point of view
- Strategy and synergies
Both Linda Jackson and Yves Bonnefont will report to Carlos Tavares.
The replacement of Jackson and Bonnefont is, of course, driven by stagnant sales performance. The press release on the announcement paints the change for Jackson in this manner:
Carlos Tavares Chairman of the Managing Board said: “After six years leading the Citroën brand, establishing successfully its new positioning, increasing sales volume and market share in Europe, and preparing the international offensive, I am pleased to announce that Linda Jackson, with her great brand-building experience, is taking up this new responsibility within the Group.”
And for Bonnefont:
“After successfully launching DS Automobiles six years ago as the premium brand of Groupe PSA, I look forward to having Yves Bonnefont taking on this new project”.
So, who is Vincent Cobée? At 51 years of age, he is a graduate of Ecole Polytechnique, Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées and Harvard Business School. In 1991, he began his career in public works in France and in Singapore. Backed by this experience, he took an international path: in Canada from 1996, with Egis Projects as New Projects Manager, then in 1997 in the Philippines where he was promoted Project Director. His experience in the automotive industry began in 2002 when he joined Nissan Motor Corporation. There, he held numerous strategic positions, in particular as Head of Purchasing for Nissan Europe (2005), then as Programme Director for Nissan in Japan (2008). Staying in Japan, in 2010 he became Head of the Datsun brand, and from 2017, Mitsubishi Motors Corporation Executive Director in charge of product strategy, brand, as well as products and programmes. Effective October 1, 2019, he was appointed by Carlos Tavares as Deputy CEO of Citroën with the task of accelerating the development of the brand internationally.