Consulting|Technology|International business

Carlos Ghosn (Renault and Nissan CEO) – a legend

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Carlos Ghosn - President and CEO - Renault, Nissan

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Carlos Ghosn – – is largely credited to the turnaround of Nissan Motors in 1999 when it was down in the red and losing billions of $ to making it turn a profit and into the black making billions of $. That’s not all.

He is the President and CEO of two geographically separated motor companies with cultures that are poles apart – Renault ( – a French automaker and Nissan ( – A Japanese automaker.

He was born in Brazil to Lebanese parents. he started out working for a French car manufacturer in Europe before heading back to South America, then North America. Prior to Renault and Nissan, he used to work at Michelin.

There’s more to this jet setting life style of Carlos Ghosn. Apparently, he spends 10 days in his office at Japan looking after Nissan, then flies to France for another 2 weeks looking after Renault and spends what is left of his time per month traveling to the USA and addressing other global needs of these auto behemoths!

In Japan, he is a cult personality with almost a celebrity status that is usually given only to rock stars. This is due to his performance in turning around Nissan Motors. A book on this turnaround phenomenon can be found here:

He is also known as a brutal cost killer and known to set very high expectations from his subordinates/peers with an eye for detail.

This is one of the reasons why Renault-Nissan combine are trying to see if they can also develop a sub $3000 car for the Indian market. Initially they were trying to forge an alliance with their partner – M&M – Mahindra and Mahindra with who they manufactured and marketed the Renault-Mahindra Logan in India earlier in April 2007. Right now, they are inking talks with Bajaj Auto. Its left to be seen who they finally get along with to compete with the Tata 1 lac car!

This man is also credited with trying to get through a tripartide merger of GM, Renault and Nissan which fell through for whatever reasons.

The more I read about this intriguing personality, the more it impresses me. I tried to dig up data on his compensation packet from the annual report of Renault and Nissan but it appears they are not obligated to report CEO pay on text available to the general public at large. I did dig up someplace that it is $2 million at Renault and another $2 million at Nissan though it is not an authentic source so it stays that way – mere speculation.

I also tried to dig up stuff on Carlos Ghosn such as the turnaround history etc. on but surprisingly that website domain owned by another firm called Nissan Computers Corp.

GM’s largest individual investor – Kirk Kerkorian and his investment company were pushing for a partnership between General Motors, Nissan and Renault and when it fell through with GM, Kirk dumped all his GM stock. 

GM has been ailing with huge healthcare costs and increased competition in the hyper competitive North American automotive landscape. Toyota is all set to upstage GM this year as the world’s largest automaker in terms of number of vehicles sold.


One Response

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  1. I am a Lebanese young man. I just wanted to thank you for spotlighting these facts for such a model the great leader CARLOS GHOSN


    October 28, 2009 at 4:43 pm

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