Most Respected CEOs
In collaboration with the
International Institute of Management
A Special CEO Honor
Nissan - Renault
Industry: Automobile Manufacturing
Market Cap: $36B
CEO Awards - A Special CEO Honor
Carlos Ghosn receives CEO Q top honor and leads the list of the Most Respected CEOs for 2010. This
honor is given to him for his legendary turnaround of Nissan Motor
his global leadership success against all odds.
The CEO Challenge
From 1993-1999 Nissan global operations
suffered 7 years of losses. Credit rating services were
threatened to lower
their status from “investment grade” to “junk”.
At the same time, Asia was
in the middle of the worst financial crisis.
Carlos was asked to
manage the turnaround of Nissan, based on his reputation of
cost-cutting at Renault (a French car company).
The company has formidable financial and
operational challenges, both in scale and complexity
Everyone hates change. Changing a global giant
is even more
Mr. Ghosn was born to Lebanese parents in Brazil, educated
in France, considered a gaijin (alien) in a society that
suspects foreigners, and he does not speak Japanese!
Ghosn executed the Nissan Revival Plan (NRP) by cutting costs
and increasing revenues at the same time. He turned around Nissan to
profitability in less than 18 months and achieved the
best financial performance in the company’s history.
Nissan became the car manufacturer that grew the most, not only in
growth rate but in absolute numbers too.
How about the most recent performance during the financial
In fiscal year 2009, Nissan made a profit while
most other automakers were losing money. Obama's administration
asked Mr. Ghosn to run General Motors Corp., but Ghosn declined the
request in order to focus on building Nissan-Renault. In 2010, the
Renault-Nissan Alliance became the first to mass-market, affordable
zero-emission vehicles (Nissan LEAF). Vehicle pre-orders in the U.S.
and Japan surpassed the
available production capacity for fiscal year 2010.
CEOs can learn a lot from Carlos, whether they are seeking growth via innovation,
executing a turnaround plan or leading in the global economy.
Carlos Ghosn is the president and CEO of
Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., a global automotive company with 180,000
employees and $83 billion in revenues. Mr. Ghosn joined the company
as its COO in June 1999, became its president in
June 2000 and was named CEO in June 2001.
In May 2005, Mr. Ghosn became the president and CEO of Renault S.A. in addition to his current responsibilities
at Nissan. As head of the Renault-Nissan Alliance, Mr. Ghosn is
responsible for two separate companies with combined annual global
sales of 6.1 million vehicles.
Prior to joining Nissan, Mr. Ghosn served as EVP of the Renault Group,
since December 1996. He was responsible for advanced research, car engineering
and development, car manufacturing, powertrain operations and
purchasing. Before he joined Renault, Mr. Ghosn had worked with
Michelin for 18 years. As chairman and CEO of
Michelin North America, Mr. Ghosn presided over the restructuring of
the company after its acquisition of the Uniroyal Goodrich Tire
Company in 1990. Previously, Mr. Ghosn had worked as the COO of Michelin's South America based in Brazil; as head of
research and development for industrial tires in Ladoux, France; and
as plant manager in Le Puy, France.
Mr. Ghosn was born in Brazil on March 9, 1954 to Lebanese
parents. He graduated with
engineering degrees from École Polytechnique in 1974 and from École
des Mines de Paris in 1978.
Mr. Ghosn currently serves on the board of directors of Alcoa.
"It sometimes seems to me the North Americans, Europeans and Japanese working here are
becoming more alike than they are different" - Carlos Ghosn, CEO
"China will be the answer to Japan's problems"
- Carlos Ghosn, CEO Nissan - Renault
"In the car industry, superior design is
critical. Product design defines the first impression the customer
has about our products. With one look the customer makes their
decision about their appeal. Of course, an attractive design is not
enough to make a product a success, but it is necessary" -
Carlos Ghosn, CEO Nissan
"We don't know where the markets are going, ...
We have to observe what's going down, see the trends, look at every
vibration on the market, prepare the technology and jump when
consumers start to think one way or the other" - Carlos
Ghosn, CEO Nissan - Renault
Fiscal year 2009 was a challenging year in the global economy and
in the global automotive industry...While we have
managed through the financial crisis and recession, we have not
compromised our strategic priorities. For example, we have not
slowed our investments to contribute to a zero-emission society.
When the Nissan LEAF goes on sale this year, the Renault-Nissan
Alliance will be the first to mass-market affordable zero-emission
vehicles. - Carlos Ghosn, CEO Nissan - Renault
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