Carlos Tavares was born on August 14, 1958, in Lisbon, Portugal. He attended the Lisbon Lycée Français before entering preparatory classes at Lycée Pierre Fermat in Toulouse. He graduated from Ecole Centrale in Paris in 1981.
An automobile and motor sports enthusiast, Tavares joined Renault in 1981 as a test-driving engineer at the Aubevoye test center before becoming head of ground link engineering in 1985. He continued his career as head of the Clio II platform at Chassis Systems in 1991 and then as head of the Architecture Department in 1996. Renault appointed him as Mégane II project director in 1998. With the technical skills he acquired in engineering, his knowledge of automotive products and his managerial qualities, he became Director of the Mid-Range Vehicle Program in 2001.
Five years after the Renault-Nissan Alliance was founded in 1999, he joined Nissan as Program Director and was named Vice President, Product Strategy and Planning Strategy in 2004. He became Executive Vice President of Nissan and joined the Board of Directors in 2005. He took the head of Nissan operations in the Americas region in 2009.
Returning to Renault in 2011, Tavares was named Chief Operating Officer on July 1.
Married with three children, Tavares is a lifelong fan of motor sports and a highly skilled driver who has competed in a number of track races since the start of his career.