At the age of 14, Carlos Tavares developed a passion for cars. In the years since, he’s gone from competing in amateur racing to heading up Stellantis, the sixth largest automaker in the world by sales. With previous positions that include chief operating officer at Nissan, executive vice president at Renault, and chief executive of PSA, his resume is one of the most impressive in the auto industry. Find out more about the Stellantis CEO as we reveal 10 things you didn’t know about Carlos Tavares.
1. He started his career at Renault
In 1981, Tavares took the first steps in his career at Renault. His first period with the company culminated in the position of director of the Renault Mégane II project. In 2004, he ventured away from Renault to take on the job of program director at Nissan. After working his way up to becoming executive vice president with a spot on the board of directors, he returned to Renault in 2011 to become chief operating officer. Two years later, he resigned after ruffling the feathers of CEO Carlos Ghosn when he publically stated he wanted to become CEO at an automaker.
2. He transformed PSA
Within a year of resigning from Renault, Tavares was back doing what he does best as the chief executive officer and Chairman of the Managing Board of Groupe PSA. Since joining the company, he’s been credited for transforming its fortunes via the implementation of cost-cutting measures and expansion policies. As well as increasing the company’s share of the highly lucrative Chinese market, he also spearheaded the acquisition of Opel, returning the German automobile manufacturer to profitability and increasing PSA’s profits in the process.
3. He’s the first CEO of Stellantis
In January 2021, a cross-border merger was formed between the French-based PSA group and the Italian-American-owned Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. As Wikipedia notes, the plan was to create the world’s fourth-largest carmaker with projected annual cost savings of $4.22 billion. Seven months into the merger, Stellantis now ranks as the sixth-largest car maker in the world. As Stellantis’ CEO, Tavares has overall responsibility for the entire brand portfolio, which includes Jeep, Chrysler, Fiat, Opel, Vauxhall, Alfa Romeo, Peugeot, and Citroën, among others.
4. He’s a multi-millionaire
If there’s one thing Tavares isn’t short on at this point in his career, it’s cash. Tavares earns €145,000 from his position as Non-Executive Independent Director of Airbus alone – when you factor in his salary and bonuses as the CEO of Stellantis, it’s understandable how he ranks among the richest CEOs in the industry.
5. He believes in keeping humble
As one of the most successful CEOs in the automotive business, Tavares would be forgiven for letting his ego run away with him occasionally. In fact, he does the opposite, operating from the firm belief that a big dose of humble pie is vital to good management. As autonnews.com notes, Tavares’ personal style is a world away from the “Super CEO” character of his former boss, Carlos Ghosn. He keeps an almost excessively low profile, preferring to be seen as nothing more than one of the cogs in the machine. “The CEO is just a tool to make things happen, and the toolbox is very, very big,” he says.
6. He’s always been passionate about cars
It was little wonder that Tavares choose the career he did. He began getting passionate about cars as a teen, even volunteering to become a track marshal on the Estoril circuit. at the age of 14. By the time he was 22, he was participating in amateur racing and by 1983, he was a regular at rallies and endurance races. Today, he has his own racing team, Clementeam Racing, and has a track record that includes competing in the legendary Monte-Carlo Rally and winning the A2 class of the Barcelona 24 Hours.
7. He collects classic cars
With a fortune of $16 million, Tavares has the opportunity to indulge his love for classic cars. His collection is vast and, for people who know a thing or two about motors, hugely enviable. Its star attractions include a 1966 Porsche 912, a 1976 Alpine A110, and a 1979 Peugeot 504 V6 Coupé.
8. He’s been voted World Car Person of the Year
In 2020, Tavares’ extensive achievements were recognized by the World Car Awards when 86 jurors from 24 countries voted him the winner of the prestigious World Car Person of the Year. As autocarpro.in notes, the award recognized his accomplishments in negotiating the merger of PSA and FCA, strengthening market development in China, spearheading the integration of electrification, and returning the brand to profitability. Receiving the award, Tavares said “It is a great honor to receive this prestigious award which I wish to dedicate to all the employees of the Groupe PSA. Because among our values “win together, agility, efficiency” includes the strength of the collective power, it is in the name all of us that I accept your honor with humility.”
9. He believes in second chances
Stellantis has one of the largest portfolios in the industry. Some of the brands within that portfolio are in profit, others, including the premium brands Alfa Romeo, DS, and Lancia, are struggling. While it might seem prudent to whittle down the portfolio by scrapping the weaker brands, Tavares has decided to give them a 10-year window of continued investment to prove themselves. Speaking to Forbes about the decision, he explained “My clear management stance is that we give a chance to each of our brands, under the leadership of a strong CEO, to define their vision, build a roadmap and make sure they use the valuable assets of Stellantis to make their business case fly.”
10. He speaks four languages
Tavares was born in Lisbon in 1958. His mother, a French teacher, and his father, an accountant for a French insurer, both encouraged him to learn other languages, which ended in him completing his education at the Ecole Centrale de Paris in France. By all accounts, he now speaks four languages fluently.