Philippe Varin, named yesterday to replace ousted PSA Peugeot Citroen CEO Christian Streiff, may seek partnerships and review product strategy at Europes second-largest carmaker after the worst auto slump in 15 years.
Varin, 56, revived Corus Group Ltd. as CEO, then sold the steelmaker to Indias Tata Steel Ltd., amid a spate of consolidation in the industry. He may face a similar challenge at Peugeot Citroen as carmakers seek deeper alliances, according to London-based Credit Suisse analyst Stuart Pearson.
He may come with a remit to work more closely with other carmakers through partnerships, Pearson said. The big question now is whether he can deliver the same kind of turnaround in a much less helpful environment.
Vehicle makers around the globe are seeking fresh ways to lower production costs and boost sales. Europes auto market just posted the biggest full-year contraction since 1993, and Streiff last month reported a 1.08 billion-euro ($1.44 billion) second-half loss. Paris-based Peugeot Citroen, Frances largest carmaker, received 3 billion euros in loans from the government to ride out the slump and save domestic jobs.
Peugeot Citroen fell as much as 1.09 cents, or 7.1%, to 14.26 euros in Paris and was 6.4% lower at 11.18 am local time as automotive stocks sagged. General Motors Corp., the biggest US carmaker, was down 13% in German trading after the resignation of its own CEO, Rick Wagoner, intensified bankruptcy concerns.