AMC President To Hold Key Post At Renault
DETROIT (AP) _ The president of American Motors Corp., Jose Dedeurwaerder, was given simultaneous duties Thursday as a top officer of the French carmaker Renault.
The action was the latest in a series of moves that increase the visibility of Renault in AMC’s corporate structure since the French company’s rescue of AMC in 1979.
Last month, Pierre Semerena, Renault’s No.2 official, resigned to become chairman of AMC, putting the chairmanship in French hands for the first time. He replaced Paul Tippett, who had become president of a South Carolina textile company and whose duties as chairman had been greatly reduced over the past year.
Regie Nationale des Usines Renault owns 46.1 percent of AMC’s stock, and four present or former Renault officials are among AMC’s 15 directors. Two other directors also have ties to Renault.
Dedeurwaerder was a Renault official until 1981, when he joined AMC as an executive vice president and director. He later was named president. In 1984 he was named chief executive officer of AMC, a title he will retain.
He rejoins Renault as executive vice president of worldwide sales and marketing and head of manufacturing outside France and his native Belgium. He is to have offices at AMC headquarters in suburban Detroit and in Paris.
Some AMC officials said Dedeurwaerder, 52, may be transferred back to France within a year.
On Dec. 16, Dedeurwaerder paid his yearly visit to French engineers at AMC’s technical center in Detroit, telling them it would be his last such meeting with them, according to company sources.
AMC spokesman Jerry Sloan said he wasn’t familiar with any such proclamation by Dedeurwaerder. As for a move back to France, Sloan said: ″To begin with, it will be 50-50″ between Detroit and Paris.
The highest-ranking American at AMC is Executive Vice President Joseph Cappy, who last month was given the title chief operating officer.
Renault and AMC have severe financial problems. Renault posted an estimated loss of $1.3 billion last year and AMC has had a cumulative loss of $741 million since 1980.
Dedeurwaerder has said AMC won’t make significant profits until it can begin selling midsize cars from a new assembly plant scheduled to open next year in Brampton, Ontario.
AMC sales of Renault imports are extremely low, ranking 17th among the 21 foreign companies that sell cars in the United States. Sales of U.S.-made Renault Alliance and Encore are off by one-third compared with 1984, causing huge losses.
The company concedes that its losses would be far greater were it not for the performance of its Jeep subsidiary, which has been selling high-profit utility vehicles at record rates for nearly two years.