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Peugeot CEO has family backing to forge alliances with rivals

Peugeot Citroën's new non-family CEO has the backing of the Peugeot family to forge alliances in an attempt to combat the challenges facing the motor industry. 

Philippe Varin was appointed CEO at the beginning of June after former chief executive, Christian Streiff, was sacked in March. Varin, who was the head of Corus, an Anglo-Dutch steel maker, is determined to bring Peugeot back with full force after the company recorded losses of €343 million for 2008.

In an interview with French newspaper Les Echos, chairman of the family-controlled company Thierry Peugeot (pictured) said: "Our objective is to rise in the global ranking of carmakers. The family is not at all against looking at a number of alliances or partnerships."

This is the first time the family has publicly commented on alliances with rival carmakers and a clear signal that Varin will be able to have some degree of freedom. He hopes to turn Peugeot Citroën into a global enterprise with a more prosperous future.

After the collapse of General Motors and Chrysler in the difficult economic climate, Peugeot has felt immense pressure. The group is currently in the process of cutting 11,000 jobs and has launched a voluntary redundancy programme. However, as illustrated by Fiat's takeover of Chrysler and other family-controlled motor companies, Peugeot is better placed than non-family controlled companies within the industry to successfully see the recession through.

Peugeot's supervisory board is made up of twelve representatives plus two non-voting advisors. Six of these are family members, giving the family 45% of the voting shares. Varin recently appointed a new team of senior executives to lead the group - five members of the Managing Board and three executive vice presidents. The group, founded in 1882, currently has a market share of around 5%.

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