Everything was going smoothly in the professional career of José Vicente de los Mozos (Valladolid, 1962), director of manufacturing and logistics of the Renault Group, and one of the 10 members of its executive committee - together with Gaspar Gascón, another Spaniard -, the highest governing body. But he did not imagine that the black swan would roam around and appear when he least expected it.
To be more precise, at the Japanese sunrise on November 19, when "the boss" -as he always called with a half smile of admiration to Carlos Ghosn (president of the Alliance Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi) - was arrested for tax fraud without time to get off the company's plane, just after landing at Tokyo airport in Haneda: "There are no declarations, only press releases Oficales ", respond in Communication of Renault Spain when the opinion of De los Mozos is asked about the scandal that has dynamited the trust between the brands of the consortium. And the newsletter, added to the ads of politicians who almost daily threaten the future of the automobile in Spain and are turning 2018 at Annus horribilis of the sector.
De los Mozos, an aeronautical engineer from the Polytechnic of Madrid, is also president of Renault Spain, and responsible for the fact that most of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Group's factories in the world work like a clock and lead the efficiency ratios and productivity. He has always fulfilled the objectives, which has led him in a meteoric race to the dome of the consortium. And he is one of the most respected professionals in the world in his area. However, new responsibilities and the fall of "the boss", now push him to new territories that challenge his management.
One of them arrived in January of this year, with the presidency of ANFAC, the Spanish employers' association of the sector. "I let myself get involved," he says with a half smile between his lips and if I know it! while he tries to accommodate his almost two meters of height in a sofa of the stand of Renault in the last Hall of Paris, where he attended EL PAÍS before the arrest of Ghosn.
The other change came in April, when "the boss" promoted him expanding his skills, now in the alliance: "I went from Renault manufacturing director to carry all the factories of the three brands in Europe, Russia, Latin America, Africa , Middle East and India. Only those from the US, China and Japan that are not Renault are left out, "he said with justified pride, because his career started very low. He was born in Brazil due to circumstances (his father worked there), but he feels he is from Valladolid, where he grew up and lives with his wife and four children. And in 1978, at the age of 16, he entered as an apprentice at Renault, and after graduating, he joined the engineering team of the Castilian factory and has spent most of his career in the alliance.
"Perhaps what defines his character is that Castilian sobriety of 'bread, bread and wine, wine', always direct and without wandering. He likes to feel the problems on the ground and not to be told about them. He is tough and demanding - like himself - but he listens and helps, because for his international baggage he has solutions from other places, "says one collaborator.
De los Mozos is used to command, although without losing the forms. "It requires meeting objectives, and doing so in terms of time and costs, but it is not a tyrant," says one subordinate. But when the noise or rhythms of public affairs do not accompany, things get complicated. The attacks of some Spanish politicians against diesel, for example, have disappointed him: "They are very unfair, because the problem is not the diesel, but the old diesel. A current Euro6B emits less CO2 than its equivalent in gasoline and the same level of NOx (nitrogen oxides). I think that politicians have to talk, in general, with more property. We proposed a Mobility Board to work together, but time passes and it's time to do, not talk. "
The reality is that the Plan for incentives to the electric car, already approved, has remained in the box, and despite favorable statements from politicians and the existing potential demand, Spain continues to the tail of electric mobility in Europe. "When we arrived at ANFAC I defined the top 5 of what the sector needs: green taxation, improvement of aid -we compete with countries that support more-, implement industry 4.0, improve competitiveness -the energy of a factory in Spain is 30 % more expensive than in France- and adopt sustainable mobility. All the politicians and governments of one party and the other have told me what to do. So what is the problem? Well, there are always many words and few facts, "he adds.
But the shocks had just begun, and the next upset came from Teresa Ribera, Minister of Energy Transition, who proposed the death penalty of all thermal models, gasoline included, by 2040. The announcement, which triggered the fears of Buyers and can sink sales, has been discouraging for the Spanish executive. Only a few days before, at the inauguration of the aluminum smelter at the Renault plant in Valladolid, he had hosted the minister, and left convinced that he had understood the reality of the sector: "Teresa Ribera was witness there, as she said publicly, the effort of the manufacturers, and how we understand the future. We know where to go, because Renault-Nissan is the pioneer in electric cars and we lead sales in Spain, Europe and the world. And it would be good to listen to those of us who believe in this. "
However, everything will have gone to the background after the devastating fall of "the boss", which completes the wave of challenges that awaits him with the new distribution of power among the first swords of the alliance. De los Mozos has good weapons in favor, such as his character, which makes him have few enemies. And, above all, his family, the best lever to win: "He is a tireless worker with a 30-hour clock, and although he spends the week traveling, on Friday he does everything possible to disconnect and be with his wife and children. It is his only hobby, ahead of Real Madrid and Holy Week in Valladolid, "says a countryman.