Economy Minister of France, Bruno Le Maire on Thursday confirmed that a senior director from the firm received the letter of resignation from Carlos Ghosn on Wednesday night.
Ghosn was arrested in Japan in November on charges of financial fraud and allegations of having committed "significant acts of misconduct".
Senard will become chairman immediately, the company said, with deputy chief executive Thierry Bollore taking over Ghosn's other Renault role as full CEO.
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Nissan said it had now begun preparations to hold an extraordinary general meeting in April to discuss new board members.
Ghosn has denied the charges, but with his release from jail unlikely anytime soon - his trial has yet to open - Renault's board was preparing to name new directors. Nissan director Greg Kelly and the Japanese company itself have also been indicted.
They also mark a clear end to one of the auto industry's most feted careers, two decades after Ghosn was despatched by former Renault CEO Louis Schweitzer to rescue newly acquired Nissan from near-bankruptcy - a feat he pulled off in two years.
Ghosn is expected to stay behind bars for several months after seeing a second bail request denied on Tuesday.
This includes being Renault's "main contact person" within the Alliance, and leading "discussion on the Alliance's organisation and evolution".
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With a ready smile and elegant attire, Senard has successfully negotiated sensitive labour agreements with trade union leaders in Michelin's French factories to preserve jobs in the face of cheaper imported Asian products.
Senard, for his part, is understood to have the backing of the French state, which owns just over 15 percent of Renault and holds 22 percent of the voting rights.
Renault executives want to resume work on a new ownership structure within the Alliance, once the new management is settled. In an interview last week, Saikawa acknowledged shareholders' concerns that the current structure undervalues their investment, but added that changing it was "really not the current priority".
Renault's new chairman, Mr Senard, will be responsible for managing Renault's alliance with Japanese carmaker Nissan, while Mr Bolloré will co-ordinate the carmaker's activities.
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