The former JLR CEO was faced with myriad challenges during his time at the helm.
After just two years in the hot seat, Jaguar Land Rover CEO Thierry Bollore has called it quits. The 59-year-old has resigned from his position, effective December 31, for personal reasons.
For Bollore, his legacy at JLR will forever be tainted by the global chip shortage which posed plenty of challenges for the luxury vehicle group, and the industry at large. According to Automotive News Europe, the CEO recently said "we should not forget that the supply of chips is really a crisis in our sector," and that it would take years for things to return to normal.
Reports suggest the French-born CEO was prompted to resign due to his inability to successfully navigate the treacherous chip shortage.
While other premium and luxury brands raked in massive profits, Jaguar Land Rover failed to record a single profitable quarter during Bollore's tenure. Earlier this year, the Tata-owned brand reported dwindling sales; just 376,381 vehicles were sold for the year ending March 31, 2022.
Interim CEO Adrian Mardell said a lack of semiconductor chips remains the biggest problem at Jaguar Land Rover. "It's hard work for us, we were behind the clock. It's a bit like turning up at buffet two weeks late - some of the stuff left is not what you want."
This posed a problem for the brand, which was unable to ramp up production of the new Range Rover and Range Rover Sport, which both serve as cash cows for the company.
But despite the challenging environment, JLR found itself in, Bollore tried his best to ensure the company could eventually turn a profit. Through the Reimagine strategy, the CEO hoped to move the company away from high sales figures and focus on high-end vehicles with higher profit margins. This is a strategy also employed by German rival Mercedes-Benz, which is moving away from mainstream vehicles.
As per Automotive News Europe, this appears to have worked. The company's breakeven point fell from 660,000 wholesales to just 300,000 in the space of three financial years. Revenue (per unit) rose to $83,000.
Bollore also envisioned Jaguar as an all-electric brand, with plans to transform the traditional British marque into EV-only by 2025. This new generation of vehicles will use the cutting-edge Panthera platform.
One month after arriving at Jaguar, Bollore scrapped the planned electric XJ.
"It was one of the toughest decisions I have ever made, especially since it was in my first month, but XJ was a completely different kind of car from the ones we were proposing - different in technology, battery chemistry, electronics, size, performance, and market position. It would never have suited our plans," he said at the time.
JLR has been plagued with reliability and longevity issues for years, and Bollore sought to resolve that with the "Refocus" program. He hoped to not only undo the image of unreliability but cut production expenditure and digitize the company.
Now that he's gone, it will be interesting to see whether JLR can reinvent itself as a major player in the premium car segment, especially as it heads down the electrification route.