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PARIS (AP) — French carmaker Renault has announced that its chief operating officer, Carlos Tavares, is unexpectedly stepping down to pursue personal projects.

Spokeswoman Raluca Barb said Thursday that Tavares is not leaving the company, but she would not give any more details.

In a statement, the company said CEO Carlos Ghosn will temporarily take over the duties of the COO, starting immediately. It did not say when a new COO would be announced.

Renault, like many European carmakers, is struggling amid years of falling demand in the European market. To cope, it has negotiated with its unions to make contracts more flexible and has been focusing on sales outside Europe.

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