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Carlos Tavares succeeds Patrick Pelata as Renault COO

As expected, Nissan Americas Executive Vice President Carlos Tavares has been appointed COO of Renault, the French carmaker announced late Monday.

Tavares, 52, will succeed Patrick Pelata, who resigned from his post earlier this year following Renault's firing of three executives wrongly accused of industrial espionage.

Tavares is a close associate of Renault and Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn. Ghosn said in a press release that Tavares' appoointment is "a first step in strengthening Renault's management."

He praised Tavares' knowledge of all aspects of the car business and added: "His talent and experience will be key strengths for Renault and for all its employees as we go into the first year of our Renault 2016 - Drive the Change program."

A big focus for the new COO will be on this five-year plan, which aims to push Renault more strongly into electric vehicles while expanding its reach in international markets.

Tavares will fully assume his new responsibilities July 1, but will already start taking on new tasks immediately.

Colin Dodge, Nissan executive vice president and the Japanese automaker's chief performance officer, will take onadditional responsibility for the Americas, succeeding, Tavares, Nissan said. Dodge's role as chairman of the Americas will take effect June 13.