Just when the auto industry is recovering from the impact of the pandemic and semiconductor constraints, the UK-headquartered luxury carmaker Jaguar Land Rover’s CEO, Thierry Bolloré, has stepped down. Bollore was appointed as the CEO in September 2020 amid JLR’s dipping profit due to the pandemic. In a bid to revive JLR, he announced a transformation plan ‘Reimagine’ Jaguar to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2039 and establish an all-electric luxury brand by 2025. Bollore also announced the introduction of the first all-electric Land Rover model in 2024. Therefore, his exit, citing personal reasons, comes as a surprise because the job was only half done.
Industry experts said that Bollore’s exit would make it even more challenging for JLR to turn around. JLR has reported losses for seven consecutive quarters, according to Bloomberg data, most recently reporting a loss before tax of £173 million ($206 million) in the three months ended September.
Starting his career at Michelin, Bollore has nearly 30 years of experience in the motoring business. He was earlier appointed as the CEO of Renault in January 2019 and served the organisation till the company board ousted him after he refused to resign. He spent less than 10 months as the CEO before his controversial exit from the company where he had served nearly seven years in multiple roles.
In his most recent address to the media during the September quarter result of JLR and its parent company Tata Motors, Bollore pointed out to semi-conductor constraints and supply chain issues due to the pandemic that have impacted the company. Bollore mentioned that a long-term business supply agreement of JLR is in the process to address the constraints.
JLR volumes were constrained even as the revenue was up 36 per cent y-o-y and 20 per cent q-o-q at £5.3 billion in the quarter that ended in September. The company which has an order book of little over two lakh units for its products also witnessed an impact on business operations after lockdowns in several cities in China since March. China is another significant global market of JLR that generates one-fourth of its retail volumes. The loss of production has even resulted in a loss of market share for JLR. With Bollore stepping down, the ‘Reimagine’ strategy of the British luxury car brand may, well, have to be reimagined.