Citroen CEO Vincent Cobee joined the PSA last year after working for 17 years at the Renault-Nissan alliance, largely at Nissan.

PARIS -- PSA Group named Vincent Cobee, a former Renault-Nissan alliance executive, as CEO of the Citroen brand, replacing Linda Jackson, who will take on a strategic role within the group.

PSA also said Wednesday that Beatrice Foucher, another former Renault-Nissan alliance executive, will be the CEO of its DS Automobiles upscale brand, replacing Yves Bonnefont.

Jackson, who had led Citroen since 2014 and also oversaw PSA's low-emissions vehicle business unit, will lead a study "to clarify and support differentiation" of PSA's brands, and will report to CEO Carlos Tavares. PSA last month signed a memorandum of understanding to merge with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. The merged PSA-FCA will have more than a dozen brands.



Cobee, a French national, left Mitsubishi in April 2019 as part of a wider shuffle among the top ranks at Nissan and Mitsubishi in the wake of the arrest of Carlos Ghosn last November. He joined Citroen as deputy CEO in October 2019, with a mission to increase international sales. He had worked for 17 years at the Renault-Nissan alliance, largely at Nissan.

Cobee's last position was as executive planning officer at Mitsubishi Motors, which he held from 2017 until April 2019. He had also led the Datsun brand and served as head of purchasing at Nissan in Europe.

Bonnefont, who has run DS since June 2014 when it became a standalone brand, will lead a study of potential synergies and cost savings across brands, PSA said. The role will include studying brand positioning "from a customer and geographic point of view," PSA said. He will also report to Tavares.

Foucher joined PSA in April 2019 as senior vice president for talent management. She held a similar role at the Renault-Nissan alliance starting in 2015.

Foucher's other positions at the alliance included Renault program director for electric cars, where she helped to launch the Zoe; Renault's head of product planning; and director of product planning for upper range cars, studying synergies between Renault and Nissan. She started at Renault in 1990.

Earlier this month DS named Bastien Schupp, another Renault-Nissan alliance veteran, as head of marketing and communications. Schupp replaced Arnault Ribault, who had held that position since 2018 and before that was the brand's first director of sales and marketing.

Ribault becomes head of sales for PSA Group in Latin America. Schupp started at Nissan Europe in 2005 and also held posts at the Infiniti brand. He joined Renault in 2016 and in 2019 was named vice president, global customer activation.

Under its CEO Jackson, Citroen was repositioned with the advertising tagline “Inspired by you,” as well as a shift in focus from minivans to SUVs.

She had set an ambitious sales target of 1.6 million vehicles by 2020. Citroen sold around 1.05 million vehicles in 2018, and sales in 2019 were running slightly ahead of that pace.

Growth in Europe has outpaced the market, but sales in China, Citroen’s second-largest market, have fallen sharply. The brand is planning to enter the Indian market in the coming years, first with imports then with a range of locally produced cars under the C-Cubed model designation.

DS has struggled since it was broken off from Citroen in 2014, but Bonnefont and other PSA executives have said the brand is profitable.

The first DS models were based on existing Citroen cars, and it was only in 2018 that the first model designed only for the brand, the DS 7 Crossback compact SUV appear. That was followed by the DS 3 Crossback small SUV. Four more DS models are scheduled to be launched in the next four years.

DS global sales in 2018 were up by 0.8 percent to 52,900, and through November 2019 were up by 11 percent. DS operations in China have been a particular disappointment for PSA, which set up a joint venture with Changan to produce and sell DS models. But the venture is being dissolved and the factory is being sold to Chinese conglomerate Baoneng Investment Group.

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