Carlos Ghosn... CEO of Nissan is a Lebanese
Carlos Ghosn, KBE (Arabic: كارلوس غصن; born March 9, 1954) is a French businessman. He is the current CEO and President of Renault of France and Nissan of Japan. He is largely credited with turning around Nissan. As an outsider in charge of one of Japan's largest companies, Ghosn has been extremely successful. He was voted Man of the Year 2003 by Fortune magazine's Asian edition and is also on the board of Alcoa, Sony, and IBM. Ghosn became CEO of Renault, in 2005, succeeding Louis Schweitzer, while remaining CEO of Nissan as well.
Ghosn was born in Porto Velho, Brazil on March 9, 1954 to Lebanese parents. At age 6, he moved to Beirut, Lebanon, with his mother. He completed his secondary school studies there, in a Jesuit school (Collège Notre-Dame de Jamhour). He graduated with engineering degrees from the École Polytechnique in 1978 (1974) with last year's specialisation at the École des Mines de Paris. He is a French and Lebanese citizen.
Ghosn (pronounced Ghoson) joined Nissan as its chief operating officer in June 1999, became its president in June 2000 and was named chief executive officer in June 2001. His turnaround of Nissan has gained him celebrity status in Japan, where he has published books and even has a manga character based on him. When he joined the company, it had debt of $20 billion and only three of its 48 models were generating a profit. Worse, Ghosn was viewed as an outsider by the media and parts of Nissan. To counteract this view, Ghosn promised to resign if the company did not reach profitability by the end of the year. Ghosn claimed that Nissan would have no net debt by 2005. One year after he arrived, Nissan's net profit climbed to $2.7 billion from a loss of $6.1 billion in the previous year. Nissan's operating profit (EBIT, or earnings before interest and taxes) margin has increased from 1.38% in FY 2000 to 9.25% in FY 2006.
Prior to joining Nissan, Ghosn had served as executive vice president of the Renault Group, a position he had held since December 1996. In addition to supervising Renault activities in the Mercosur, he was responsible for advanced research, car engineering and development, car manufacturing, powertrain operations and purchasing. He became president of Renault in April 2005.
Before he joined Renault, Ghosn had worked with Michelin for 18 years. As chairman and CEO of Michelin North America, Ghosn presided over the restructuring of the company after its acquisition of the Uniroyal Goodrich Tire Company in 1990. Previously, Ghosn had worked as the COO of Michelin's South American activities based in Brazil; as head of research and development for industrial tires in Ladoux, France; and as plant manager in Le Puy, France.
Kirk Kerkorian recently urged General Motors Corporation to consider a partnership with Nissan and Renault. Carlos Ghosn expressed interest in Renault acquiring up to a 20% stake in General Motors Corporation at a dinner with Kirk Kerkorian that took place around June 20th, 2006. Kerkorian had hoped to attract Ghosn to General Motors as CEO, forcing out current GM CEO Rick Wagoner, as Kerkorian believed Ghosn's approach to the auto business and success in turning around both Renault and Nissan make him best-suited to run General Motors.
Talks with GM broke off without any alliance or commitment from either side; Kerkorian has since sold off all shares in GM.
Not so well known, is that Carlos Ghosn was also in the auditing committee of Mirant's board, a firm that went bankrupt in 2003 after severe liquidity and accounting problems. Mirant was Arthur Andersen's second largest client in the power industry, right after Enron.