Monday 17th November 1986
Georges Besse (58), who had halved Renault’s deficit, was assassinated outside his Paris home. Besse’s killers rode up on a motorcycle as he emerged from his chauffeur-driven automobile. The car chief was shot in the head and chest and died where he fell on the pavement. Leaflets by the militant anarchist organisation Action Directe were sent three months later. The organization claimed responsibility for the murder, stating the murder was in retaliation for his reforms of the financially stricken automaker Renault which involved laying off a large number of workers. However, the Action Directe members denied any responsibility during their trial. Two women, Nathalie Menigon and Joelle Aubron, were charged with his murder in March 1987 and were sentenced to life imprisonment in 1989. Two other Action Directe members, Jean-Marc Rouillan and Georges Cipriani, were convicted as accomplices and also sentenced to life imprisonment. Renault’s car assembly plant in Douai in northern France, was renamed in Besses’s honour.