UPDATE 1-Renault says board member Desmarest to step down on Feb 15

* Desmarest to step down after Feb 15 board meeting

* Sources say Desmarest had concerns over COO recruitment (adds context on Desmarest departure)

PARIS, Feb 13 (Reuters) - French carmaker Renault said on Tuesday board member Thierry Desmarest would leave the company on Feb. 15, when Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn is expected to appoint a new chief operating officer.

Desmarest's departure was reported by Reuters earlier this week. Sources have told Reuters that Chief Performance Officer Thierry Bollore is set to be promoted to second-in-command of the carmaker, the world's third largest by volume.

Desmarest's exit comes amid renewed tensions between Renault and the French government, which has been pressing Ghosn to recruit a second-in-command who could one day succeed him at the helm of the Renault-Nissan alliance.

However, sources have said at least two directors - besides Desmarest - have raised concerns about the recruitment process and its outcome. Desmarest shared some of those concerns, they said.

In its statement, Renault said former Total CEO Desmarest wanted to highlight his "full confidence in the strategic decisions and governance of Groupe Renault."

Desmarest's resignation will take effect at the conclusion of Thursday's board meeting.

The French government said on Monday it would back whoever Ghosn nominates for COO.

Renault and the government have sought to avoid a repeat of a 2015 clash in which France raised its stake in the company to swing a shareholder vote and secure double voting rights. (Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Richard Lough and Kirsten Donovan)