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Renault restructures Australian team

Cut: Renault Australia's Craig Smith was made redundant in another round of staff cuts.

Marketing communications manager among staff cutbacks at Renault Australia

Renault logo25 Jun 2009

RENAULT Australia’s marketing communications manager Craig Smith is one of a number of staff members at the French marque’s Melbourne headquarters to be made redundant in the latest round of job cuts blamed on the economic downturn.

Renault Australia managing director Rudi Koenig, who for the time being will be the direct contact for all media-related issues, refused to specify the number of cuts or the other positions involved, but said they were not from the ranks of senior management.

“There have been a small number of staff changes – we’re not a big team – and I suppose if you look through virtually every company in Australia, and most of the companies in the developed world, you’ll find a story of staff changes,” he told GoAuto this week.

“We’re certainly not alone in that.

“In percentage terms, it’s pretty well in line with what’s happened throughout the world.”

Mr Koenig said he was continuing to work through a restructuring plan for the Australian operations, but did not anticipate further staff reductions.

“We have a plan we’re working through, and we’re virtually through that plan. You know, you can never say never, because who knows what’s around the next corner as far as the economic conditions go. But at this stage we’ve done our (staff) restructuring and we’re moving forward.”

 center imageLeft: Renault Australia managing director Rudi Koenig.

Mr Koenig said the decision to make the marketing communications role redundant was no reflection on Mr Smith’s performance, but a consequence of Renault France’s decision to cut media representatives from a number of subsidiaries around the world.

“It’s a decision taken in conjunction with our parent company, who review these things all over the world,” Mr Koenig said. “Basically, with all the smaller countries, (Renault HQ) has looked at whether they need a separate communications person.

“We’ll be using the officers of the global media office more, where we can, which are going to give more support to all the media departments in (smaller) countries.

“Also, of course, we haven’t got a new product launch activity for the next little while, so it gives a little bit of breathing space to come up with a new methodology.

“Like a number of other companies and brands in this market in the current environment, we’ve had to take a reality check, I suppose you could say. It’s certainly no reflection on Craig, or his performance.

“I’ve just been back from France with a round of meetings and discussions, regurgitating all these things, so we’ve got a clear plan going forward and we’re working hard towards achieving our objectives.”

According to Mr Koenig, the cuts at Renault Australia are unrelated to staff reductions at alliance partner Nissan Australia, which occupies the same building and provides a range of ‘out-services’ to Renault.

“We certainly maintain operating independence from Nissan,” said Mr Koenig, who reports directly to France. “Obviously, what happens at Nissan impacts their ability to provide services to us, but certainly that’s up to (Nissan Australia CEO) Dan Thompson and his team.”

Mr Koenig also emphasised that there was no intention to revert back to a previous management structure that had the public relations chief for Nissan also responsible for Renault.

Read more:

Nissan Australia cuts white-collar jobs


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