Carlos Ghosn

September 2012

Leading in the 21st century: An interview with Carlos Ghosn
Carlos Ghosn Chairman and CEO, Nissan Chairman and CEO, Renault SA Chairman and CEO, Renault-Nissan Alliance
Carlos Ghosn led one of the most dramatic turnarounds in the history of the modern corporation. Dispatched to Tokyo in 1999, with orders from France’s Renault SA to rescue its oundering Japanese business partner, Nissan Motor, Ghosn moved boldly. He slashed costs, closed unpro table factories, shrank the supplier network, sold unpro table assets, and rewired Nissan’s insular culture. Skeptics pronounced his efforts doomed. But within a year, Ghosn had returned Japan’s second-largest auto manufacturer to pro tability and was widely credited with saving it from collapse. Since then, Ghosn—who was named CEO of Nissan in 2001—has transformed Nissan into one of the world’s most pro table companies. Under his leadership, Nissan has pushed aggressively into emerging markets such as Brazil, China, India, Russia, and Southeast Asia and shifted production of many core models outside Japan. He has invested heavily to develop affordable zero-emission vehicles, including the Nissan LEAF, which was launched in 2010, and a full lineup of Renault electric vehicles. The March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in northern Japan disproportionately damaged Nissan, which had to halt production at its biggest engine plant. Later that year, ooding in Thailand cut supplies for key parts needed at factories around the world. Nonetheless, Ghosn kept Nissan on track to ful ll its ambitious Power 88 six-year growth plan, committing Nissan to boost global market share and pro ts to 8 percent by 2016. He also vowed that Nissan would claim a 10 percent share of the world’s two largest markets, China and the United States. In announcing this new midterm plan, Ghosn declared Nissan ready to go on the attack: “This is the rst time Nissan is starting a plan on the offensive instead of reconstructing something or...