Renault SA could name a new chief executive officer ahead of a crucial meeting in Japan on Thursday aimed at showing that the deeply troubled alliance with Nissan Motor Co. and Mitsubishi Motors Corp. is moving past the Carlos Ghosn era.

The French carmaker's board gave the green light for Luca de Meo to become the new CEO, Le Parisien reported Sunday, without saying where it got the information. A spokesman for Renault declined to comment.

The Italian, who rose through the ranks at Volkswagen AG to run its Spanish brand SEAT, has been the front-runner for months. The executive, who recently stepped down as chairman of SEAT, is "probably in talks with Renault," VW CEO Herbert Diess said last week in Davos. Without confirming his name, Renault Chairman Jean-Dominique Senard has said an announcement could come within days.