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RENAULT Australia has hired the former head of Peugeot Citroen Australia, Anouk Poelmann, as its new managing director.

As GoAuto has reported, Renault’s previous chief Andrew Moore resigned from his position last month after less than two years in the role, citing pressures of the job and a need to spend more time with his family.

Ms Poelmann also had only a short tenure as the head of Peugeot Citroen Australia, stepping down in September last year after relocating from Europe in mid-2017 to lead the PSA Group brands as their local distribution shifted from Sime Darby Motors to Inchcape Australasia.

Inchcape said at the time of her departure that her decision to leave was likewise due to personal reasons.

In a statement, Renault Australia said Ms Poelmann’s experience at the arch-rival Peugeot Citroen Australia operation gave her “a broad commercial and marketing skills base for the role at Renault” which is run through the factory rather than with an independent distributor.

“We are very pleased to welcome Anouk to the Renault Group,” said Renault Asia-Pacific director of aftersales, network and service quality Xavier Kaufmann, who was overseeing the Australian operations in the wake of Mr Moore’s departure.

“She joins us at a crucial moment as we strengthen and grow the presence of the Renault brand in Australia.”

Ms Poelmann said she was “delighted to join Renault and to lead the brand’s Australian operations”.

“Renault has a strong history and appealing core values, underpinned by outstanding product, committed dealers and passionate staff, and I am looking forward to continuing the brand’s journey in the evolving Australian marketplace,” she said.

Ms Poelmann has worked in both manufacturer and retail sides of the automotive industry in a range of positions spanning general management, business development, and sales and marketing.

Prior to taking the job at Inchcape, she spent a few years working as a managing partner of Belgian-based business consultant Scope, and previously served for five years as president of Volvo Car Switzerland (2009-2014) and six years as vice-president and sales and marketing director of Volvo Car Russia (2003-2009).

This Russian-based role came when Volvo was part of Ford’s Premier Automotive Group, which meant Ms Poelmann also had responsibility for sales and marketing of other brands in the stable, including Jaguar and Land Rover.

She earlier spent two years working for Volvo Cars in a variety of sales and marketing roles for the Swedish manufacturer’s ‘rest of the world’ region, which includes Australasia, Asia (except China), Russia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America.

Ms Poelmann has a masters’ degree in business administration, finance, general and commercial economics from the Erasmus University Rotterdam and began her career at the United Nations in New York in the early 1990s, moving to Brussels as a researcher at a boutique consultancy firm before moving into other areas.

As reported, Mr Moore was working on bringing several new vehicles to Australia, including the long-awaited Alaskan pick-up, and also oversaw the launch of the reborn Alpine sportscar brand last year.

Renault’s sales have softened in recent years in line with the overall market, slipping from 11,109 units in 2016 to 10,812 in 2017 and then to 10,018 last year.

At the end of the first quarter of this year, sales were down 19.4 per cent to 2021 units.

By Terry Martin