Carlos Ghosn Early Life
Carlos Ghosn, businessman, born 9 March 1954, in Porto Velho, Brazil, to Lebanese parents. He was once tipped as a potential president of Lebanon, a move he eventually dismissed because he already had “too many jobs”. He is a big investor in the Lebanese wine industry. After taking over at Nissan, Mr Ghosn controversially changed the official company language from Japanese to English. A car lover from an early age, he reportedly could distinguish vehicles by their horn when aged five.
Auto industry experts say that Carlos Ghosn has a long history of beating the odds. During his tenure as the head of Nissan, he managed to step inside a company entrenched in the insular world of Japanese automakers and lead the company from the brink of bankruptcy to financial success. Carlos Ghosn was long regarded as one of the titans of global auto industry. During his tenure as the head of Nissan and the French automaker Renault, he earned the nickname “Le Cost Killer” for closing factories and laying off employees. But he was credited for modernizing Nissan by bringing it back from the brink of bankruptcy and building what was regarded as the world’s largest automobile group.
Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn was arrested 10 2018 over claims of financial misconduct, the carmaker has said. Mr Ghosn, a towering figure in the car industry, will be sacked from the Japanese firm after a board meeting on Thursday, its chief executive said. He has been accused of “significant acts of misconduct”, including under-reporting his pay package and personal use of company assets. Nissan said it was unable to give further details on the offences. Japanese prosecutors have yet to comment on Mr Ghosn’s arrest. Nissan is the world’s sixth-largest carmaker and its site in Sunderland is the UK’s biggest car plant.
“I feel despair, indignation and resentment.” said Nissan chief executive Hiroto Saikawa at a news conference. “As the details are disclosed I believe that people will feel the same way as I feel today.”
Carlos Ghosn Bichara Biography and Profile
Carlos Ghosn, businessman, born 9 March 1954 in Brazil to Lebanese parents, he returned to Lebanon with his mother at the age of six. He then studied for two engineering degrees in Paris. This cultural diversity, he says, made him more willing to integrate and understand other countries. It’s one reason he succeeded in Japan’s relatively insular corporate environment. Being multilingual has also helped. He is fluent in Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, French and English, and picked up a good working knowledge of Japanese during his time at Nissan.
Carlos Ghosn wasn’t supposed to succeed in Japan, but he wasn’t supposed to fail like this. He first made headlines in 1999 when, in a nation known for its distrust of outsiders, Mr. Ghosn, a brash Brazilian-born and Lebanese- and French-educated engineer, showed up in sunglasses and a pinstripe suit with plans to carry out an American-style restructuring of a failing Nissan. The Japanese carmaker had $35 billion in debt, provided lifetime employment to a bloated work force and produced a fleet of the kind of cars you’d dread getting at the rental counter.
Mr. Ghosn, then 45 and a vice president at Renault, had helped oversee a turnaround at the middling French automaker, which had agreed to spend $5.4 billion to buy a 36.8 percent stake in Nissan Motors. John Casesa, then a top auto analyst at Merrill Lynch, advised Mr. Ghosn to rent a house in Tokyo rather than buy one.
“The widely held consensus was that he would fail, that Nissan wasn’t worth saving and it couldn’t be done,” Mr. Casesa said.
At the time, Bob Lutz, the loquacious vice chairman of General Motors, assessed the deal this way: Renault would be better off “taking $5 billion, putting it on a barge and sinking it in the middle of the ocean.”
But Mr. Ghosn, with his severe black eyebrows and puffed chest, was undeterred. He closed factories, slashed suppliers, laid off 14 percent of the work force and invested in design. Six years later, Nissan had surpassed Honda to become Japan’s No. 2 automaker, its market capitalization had quintupled and its operating margin had risen tenfold. Altima sedans, Titan pickup trucks and Murano S.U.V.s made Nissan a major player in the United States market — an achievement that Wall Street once deemed impossible. By the early 2000s, Mr. Ghosn was head of the Renault-Nissan alliance and the first person to simultaneously serve as chief executive of two Fortune Global 500 companies, the type of chief executive who even if you didn’t know how to pronounce his name (rhymes with phone), you’d know his products.
The enigmatic “gaijin” (as foreigners are called in Japan) had achieved a status bestowed on only a handful of chief executives, akin, at least in Japan, to Steve Jobs, Warren E. Buffett or Elon Musk. Paparazzi swarmed. Fans asked for autographs. Japanese businessmen, eager to emulate the Nissan chief, inquired where Mr. Ghosn had bought his rectangular sunglasses and custom suits.
My Personal History: Carlos Ghosn
My full name is Carlos Ghosn Bichara, after my grandfather Bichara Ghosn. He was born at the base of Mount Lebanon where there were many Maronite Christians and an abundance of centuries-old Lebanon cedars. The Maronite Church is a part of the Roman Catholic Church that maintains its own original structure and rites. To this day, Maronite churches hold Mass in Syriac, said to have been the language used by Christ.
Religious conflicts, as well as extreme poverty, made life in Lebanon difficult during the early 20th century. To escape these challenges, my grandfather, at the age of 13, boarded a boat with just a single suitcase in his hand. It took three months to get from the Lebanese capital of Beirut to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
After working for a short period of time in Rio, he moved to the basin of the Amazon River to seek greater opportunities. He landed in Sao Miguel do Guapore, before it became part of Brazil, and eventually settled in the then-undeveloped lands of Porto Velho, today the state capital of Rondonia.
Agricultural products, including rubber, were harvested there. The region was quickly becoming a major international hub for rubber production, and there was an intense movement of people and supplies. Capitalizing on this environment, my grandfather headed several companies, one of which provided local assistance to aviation companies expanding their routes into the Amazon. My father, along with his brothers, would eventually inherit this business after my grandfather’s death.
It was common for Lebanese immigrants to travel to their homeland, wed, and then return. The same applied to my grandfather. Through an introduction from a friend, he met his wife-to-be in Beirut. A few years after they were married, my father, Jorge Ghosn, was born in Brazil.
My father also traveled to Lebanon when he came of age. There, he met and married my mother. Her name is Rose, but she goes by Zetta. She was born in Nigeria and later studied in Lebanon. I remember her mother — my grandmother — well. She had a tremendous influence on me. She was always well-organized and approached everything with honesty and in earnest. She was also very strict, so as a child, I didn’t like her very much. I have learned in the years since that these are the kinds of people you remember most, the ones who make a lasting impression. Much of who I am is the result of who my grandmother was.
My mother also had a tremendous influence on my life. Unlike her mother — and perhaps as a consequence — she wasn’t very strict. Rather, she was filled with love and was very approachable. She was also a devout Francophile. She spoke French exquisitely and was even more French than people who had been born there. This would greatly influence my choices when it was time to pursue my studies, and my family and I would live in Paris for many years.
My mother, who is now 86 years old, resides in Brazil, as does most of my family. Two of my sisters live near my mother in Rio de Janeiro. My father has since passed away. I return a couple of times each year. Overall, we’re a close-knit family.
I provide this family history because it has had a profound impact on shaping my life and identity. My part of the story began in 1954, shortly after my parents were married and settled in Porto Velho. My older sister was also born there.
From what my mother tells me, I was full of energy as a baby. But when I turned 2, there was an unfortunate incident. Our home was located in the tropical area around the Amazon, which was infested with mosquitoes. It was common practice for all the children to drink only boiled water to avoid disease, but one day I was accidentally served water that hadn’t been boiled. I came down with a high fever. As it was described to me, I was on death’s doorstep. The doctor told my parents that if they wanted me to survive, I would need to live in a place where the climate was more favorable, and where the water was safe to drink. In other words, we would have to move.
Carlos Ghosn’s Salary Pay Compared
Carlos Ghosn, one of the most celebrated leaders in the global auto industry, was ousted as the chairman of Nissan Motor Co (7201.T) on Thursday over allegations of financial misconduct including under-stating his income by around 5 billion yen ($44 million) over five years. Ghosn, who helms Mitsubishi Motors (7211.T) and Nissan’s French partner Renault (RENA.PA), is one of the most well-paid executives at global automakers, a Reuters analysis of company filings shows.
The following is a snapshot of the compensation packages earned by top auto executives in their latest financial year.
MARY BARRA – $21.96 million
CEO of General Motors (GM.N)
(Consists of $2.1 million in salary, $10.7 million in restricted stock awards, $4.96 million in other compensation and bonus and $4.2 million in all other compensation)
CARLOS GHOSN – $16.9 million
(Comprises $8.4 million from Renault, $6.5 million from Nissan and $2 million from Mitsubishi)
JIM HACKETT – $16.7 million
CEO of Ford Motor Co (F.N)
(Comprises $1.34 million in salary, $10.37 million in restricted stock awards, $4.6 million in other compensation and bonus and $0.42 million in all other compensation)
BILL FORD – $15.6 million
Executive chairman of Ford
(Consists of $1.65 million in salary, $10.27 million in restricted stock awards, $1 million in other compensation and bonus and $2.71 million in all other compensation)
DIETER ZETSCHE – $9.8 million
CEO of Daimler Chrysler (DAIGn.DE)
(Comprises $2.29 million in salary, $3 million in restricted stock awards, $4.5 million in other compensation and bonus)
HARALD KRUEGER – $9.5 million
CEO of BMW (BMWG.DE)
(Comprises $1.71 million in salary, $0.2 million in restricted stock awards, $7.6 million in bonus and $0.02 million in all other compensation)
DAN AMMANN – $9.3 million
President of General Motors Corp (GM.N)
(Consists of $1.45 million as salary, $4.1 million in restricted stock options, $2.1 million in other annual compensation and bonus and $1.6 million as all other compensation)
ELON MUSK – Potential pay worth up to $2.6 billion
CEO of Tesla Inc (TSLA.O)
(Shareholders approved a compensation award potentially worth $2.6 billion. It includes no salary or cash bonus but sets rewards based on Tesla’s market value rising to as much as $650 billion over the next 10 years, Reuters reported in March here)
CHUNG MONG-KOO – $4 million
Carlos Ghosn Downfall
The downfall of Carlos Ghosn sent shockwaves through the global car industry. The saga began with his arrest on suspicion of financial misconduct, then he was dismissed from his post as chairman of Japanese car giant Nissan. Now, in the latest unexpected twist, he has absconded and fled to Lebanon. The scandal has thrown into doubt the future of the Alliance – a global carmaking group that includes Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi. It has also exposed fractures in the very close relationship between Renault and Nissan.
The Alliance – Three Companies Acting As A Single Entity
The Alliance was formed in 1999, when Renault rescued Nissan from the brink of bankruptcy. The French carmaker has a 43% stake in its Japanese partner, while Nissan has a 15% stake in Renault. In 2016, Mitsubishi was added to the mix. Damaged by scandal and struggling financially, it was effectively bailed out by Nissan, which acquired 34% of its shares.
Today, although the three companies retain distinct identities, they act as a global car grouping. They develop and use common technologies, buy parts from the same suppliers, and are developing systems for building cars from common “modules”. Together they employ more than 450,000 people, and sell more than 10 million vehicles a year.
Before this scandal erupted, Carlos Ghosn was chairman of both Nissan and Mitsubishi, as well as being chairman and chief executive of Renault. He was also chairman and chief executive of the Alliance, which has its own board.
Nissan has grown faster than its partner
Although the three Alliance companies already have very close links, Carlos Ghosn had plans to bring them closer, and in particular to reinforce the already strong links between Renault and Nissan.
The BBC understands that while this would have fallen short of a full merger, with both companies maintaining their separate corporate identities, it might well have involved Renault taking a majority stake in its partner.
This is believed to have caused concern and resentment at Nissan – and looking at the graph below, it is easy to see why. When the partnership between the two was first established, they were building cars at a similar rate.
Afterwards, Renault nearly doubled its output, helped in part by the acquisition of the Russian manufacturer Avtovaz in 2014.
But Nissan grew even more quickly. It now makes nearly six million cars and light vans every year – roughly a third more than Renault. In 2017, it made a profit of $5.8bn and accounted for a sizeable chunk of Renault’s own earnings.
So seen from that perspective, Nissan and its executives could be forgiven for asking why they risked losing status and influence within the Alliance, despite providing the lion’s share of production and profits.
That said, Carlos Ghosn can justifiably claim a great deal of credit for Nissan’s current strength. When he joined the company in 1999, he already enjoyed the nickname “le Cost Killer” in France for his actions at Renault.
He brought a similar ruthlessness to Nissan, closing factories, cutting jobs and transforming the way it operated. As the chart below shows, it was an effective strategy. Operating profits soared and remained high until the financial crisis, when, like other manufacturers, Nissan saw its earnings plummet.
Nissan recovered from the crisis quickly, but since then, the road has been rockier. In recent years, its margins have been hit by declining sales, rising costs and a quality control scandal in Japan. In the six months to the end of October 2018, operating profit fell by a quarter compared with the previous year. So had Mr Ghosn already lost his Midas touch?
Mr Ghosn was well paid for his efforts
Nissan claims that Mr Ghosn had been systematically under-reporting his earnings to security regulators and had been misusing company assets for personal benefit. What exactly happened has never been established. But one thing we can be sure of is that, under-reported or not, he was earning plenty of money.
In 2017, he was paid about $17m in salary, share options and bonuses. In fact, there has been plenty of controversy about his pay packet in the past, but mainly in France, where it has been the subject of an annual showdown with shareholders. Those shareholders include the French state, which voted against his latest package in June 2018.
Carlos Ghosn Family
Carlos Ghosn’s wife Carole Ghosn was born in Beirut, Lebanon in 1966 but has spent most of her life in the U.S. According to the South China Morning Post, Ghosn also holds citizenship in America, along with her three children from her first marriage. In her professional life, Carole Ghosn found success in creating luxury caftans and founded her company in New York. Under her first married name “Carole Marshi,” she created a line of summery caftans, handmade in Lebanon, called “CALM,” according to Elle Décor.
Carole Ghosn has reportedly been involved in cultural and philanthropic efforts including the Social and Economic Action for Lebanon (SEAL). The former Nissan chair and his wife first met at a charity event. The two married in 2016 in a lavish ceremony at the Palace of Versailles in Paris. Authorities have reportedly questioned how the wedding was funded.
Carole Ghosn arguably has been the biggest advocate in her husband’s case, reaching out to U.S. media outlets and world leaders like President Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron in an attempt to make her voice heard.
In an interview with Maria Bartiromo on FOX Business in April 2019, Carole Ghosn said Japanese prosecutors would not allow her to speak to her husband, and described the country’s treatment of the former Nissan executive as “mental abuse.”
“This is their judicial system,” she said. “These are their laws.”
Carole Ghosn told Bartiromo earlier this week that she and her husband are very happy to be reunited.
Carlos Ghosn’s Children
Carlos Ghosn’s three daughters all received their corporate start in strategic management at MBB companies, also known as the Big Three — McKinsey & Company, Boston Consulting Group and Bain & Company. With international business in their blood, Ghosn’s children have also found themselves leading and dominating big industries — some even in the C-suite.
Eldest daughter Caroline Ghosn got her start at McKinsey & Company in 2007 and founded her company Levo in 2012 with McKinsey colleagues, according to Consultancy Asia. One of the early investors was reportedly Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg. She still holds the position as CEO of Levo, a company that advocates for and offers resources and guidance to female professionals.
Youngest daughter Maya Ghosn also had her start in business at McKinsey, working as an engagement manager, business analyst and social sector fellow, according to her LinkedIn. After three years, Maya Ghosn left McKinsey to work as Director of Operations for Mark Zuckerberg and Pricilla Chan at Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.
Nadine Ghosn launched her career in luxury fashion as creative director of Nadine Ghosn Fine Jewelry. The jewelry company designs unique pieces and has worked with celebrities like Karl Lagerfield and Beyonce.
According to her LinkedIn, Nadine Ghosn started her professional career with Boston Consulting Group as a luxury and consumer goods associate.
Carlos Ghosn’s son Anthony Ghosn is the CEO and co-founder of financial services firm Shogun Enterprises, according to his LinkedIn. Although he did not get his start at the MBB, Carlos Ghosn’s stepson, Anthony Marshi, is currently an associate at Boston Consulting Group in New York.
Carlos Ghosn Biography and Profile