Carlos Ghosn is a businessman of French Lebanese origin famed most as the CEO and chairman of Renault and Nissan. He holds the same posts at the Renault-Nissan Alliance. He is known as ‘Le cost killer’, ‘ice breaker’ and ‘Mr. Fix it’ for the way he orchestrated financial turnaround at Nissan.
Ghosn was born on 9th March 1954 in Porto Velho, Brazil. He did his secondary studies in Beirut, Lebanon at Collège Notre-Dame de Jamhour. He graduated in 1978 from École Polytechnique in engineering and his post graduate studies from the École des Mines de Paris. After his graduation he got a job at the biggest automotive supplier, Michelin & Cie in France. He stayed there for 18 years, At 30, Ghosn was made the chief operating officer of Michelin’s South American operation worth $300 million. He had to go to Rio de Janeiro where he was reporting to Francois Michelin directly. He gave Ghosn the responsibility of turning around an unprofitable operation. With Ghosn’s ingenious business tactics and smart decisions the division became profitable in less than two years. In 1990 he was appointed the CEO and chairman of the Michelin North America. His role included car engineering, development, advanced research, powertrain operations, car manufacturing and procuring and administration of Renault doings in South America.
In 1999 Ghosn bought 36.8% stake in Nissan and soon joined the company as CEO becoming the president in 2000. He kept his positions in Renault. At his joining time Nissan was under a debt of $20 billion and very few of its models were lucrative. To turn around the future of Nissan was almost impossible and Ghosn promised to leave the company if he was not able to do anything about their current situation. Once again Ghosn worked his magic and even received some criticism from the Wall Street Journal that disapproved his radical methods. But contrary to these accusations, Nissan’s profits elevated from their loss of more than $6 billion to a profit of $2.7 billion. His three year turnaround plan had been accomplished in only a year. He spearheaded key fundamental changes at Nissan making it a thriving business in no time. Carlos Ghosn is the first person in the world to run 2 companies on the Fortune 500.
According to Forbes magazine Ghosn is the ‘the hardest-working man in the brutally competitive global car business’. He is ‘Seven-Eleven’, a term coined by the Japanese media. He is fluent in Portuguese, English, French and Arabic. He has invested in Ixsir, a vineyard working for environment benefits. Some also see him as a presidential candidate of Lebanon although he has never mentioned any sort of political interests. He starred in the documentary ‘Revenge of the Electric Car’ (2011). His life story was made into a comic book named ‘The True Story of Carlos Ghosn’ sold in Japan. He also wrote a book called ‘Shift: Inside Nissan’s Historic Revival’ which is a best-seller. Ghosn is often a subject of university thesis and business essays. He has been honored with several awards such including the ‘Most Respected CEOs’ by CEO Quarterly Magazine (2010) and ‘Asia Business Leader of the Year’ by CNBC (2011). He was added in the Japan Automotive Hall of Fame in 2010.