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Is it disloyal to be ambitious for the top job in public?

Stephen Brooks

Financial Times

4 September 2013



Last week Carlos Tavares stepped down as chief operating officer at Renault after saying in an interview that he was looking to become CEO at another carmaker. Mr Tavares said he was not being disloyal, but merely displaying his ambition. Is it possible to be frank in public without undermining your position at the company where you work? 


Carlos Tavares has every right to decide whether to wait for the opportunity to become CEO at Renault or seek an opportunity elsewhere. But he was wrong to announce his intentions in such a public manner. He must have known it would fatally undermine his own position. How could he expect the board to trust him after announcing to the world that he wanted to work with a competitor?

It would have been far better to discuss his intentions only with Renault. Then, if he did leave, his departure could have been handled in such a way as to restrict damage to his reputation and that of the company. But then, for all we know, he may already have done that.

Stephen Brooks is a specialist in people management at PA Consulting Group


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