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Carlos Ghosn Essay

4079 words - 17 pages

Master in Management
Organizational Behavior & Leadership
Case #2: The Personality of Leaders

The Personality of Carlos Ghosn: The $10 Billion Man
Read the following dossier of article extracts and answer the final questions.
1.- “The $10 billion man”
Feb 24th 2005, The Economist

Having turned round Nissan, Carlos Ghosn is about to run Renault as well
It is said that he could add $10 billion to the market value of Ford or General
Motors with a stroke of his pen. But Carlos Ghosn is not about to sign up as chief
executive of either firm. Instead, in May, he will become the boss of Renault, France 's
second-largest carmaker, while continuing to head Nissan, Japan's number two ...view middle of the document...

Now he is to be the first executive to try to run two big carmakers at once. No
one has ever revived a carmaker as spectacularly as he has—much less attempted an
encore. But then the industry has never seen anyone like the larger-than-life Mr Ghosn.
Born in Brazil to a Lebanese immigrant family, he went to a French school in Lebanon
before studying engineering at the Ecole Polytechnique in Paris. Few Frenchmen speak
four European languages and get by in Japanese as well. He first made his name by
turning around Michelin's business in Brazil, then America, before being hired by
Renault. He was soon nicknamed “le cost killer” as he revived Renault in the mid1990s.
In 1999, when Louis Schweitzer—Renault's now soon-to-depart chief
executive—decided to link up with Nissan, he knew that Mr Ghosn, already his
intended successor at Renault, was the man to put in charge of rescuing the Japanese
firm. Mr Ghosn's “Nissan Revival Plan” involved shedding 20,000 jobs and closing five

Master in Management
Organizational Behavior & Leadership
Case #2: The Personality of Leaders

factories, a drastic move in conservative Japan. He also abandoned the cozy keiretsu
family-of-firms system, a pillar of Japanese industry. Nissan's shares in keiretsu
suppliers were sold to pay off debt. He slimmed down Nissan's product range, but
accelerated development of new models.
A second plan, “Nissan 180”, launched in 2002, stands for reversing the
company's decline by adding 1m in sales by October this year, achieving an operating
margin of 8% and eliminating its debt. With sales in North America topping 1m, Nissan
is on course to hit the last remaining target, before a new plan is unveiled in April. Then
it will be up to Mr Shiga to hit those targets, under his boss's watchful eye. If he lives up
to expectations, Mr Shiga could be in line to succeed Mr Ghosn as chief executive at
Nissan within a few years.
Mr Ghosn attributes his success to the way that he works through crossfunctional teams. He thinks that when people from different backgrounds work together
under pressure they come up with more creative solutions. He proved the value of this
technique when he successfully merged Michelin's American tire business with another
firm in the teeth of a recession. His personal style is brisk and direct, but not without
My other car firm's a Renault
And yet why risk everything by adding to his workload? Both Renault and
Nissan have concluded that they have no choice but to share a boss for the next few
years. To put a Japanese executive into Mr Ghosn's chief-executive shoes immediately
might have signaled a return to the old days of consensual dithering and blind respect
for seniority. To put a Frenchman in would have seemed too aggressive. Mr Ghosn's
diverse international background made him more acceptable in Japan. He was not seen
as an invading Frenchman. Indeed Ghosn-san has become a sort of national hero in his

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