Carlos Ghosn: 5 things to know
News of Nissan Motor Chairman Carlos Ghosn’s arrest has sent shockwaves throughout the auto industry as he has been highly regarded as one of the world’s best-known businessmen.
Nissan announced Monday that Ghosn has been arrested over allegations of financial misconduct and faces termination from the board this week. Members are expected to meet Thursday to decide his fate.
While Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa expressed his “despair” over the news in a press conference Monday, he also blamed Ghosn’s ability to accrue too much power within the organization over the years, which lead to an oversight of the alleged misdeeds.
"Too much authority was given to one person in terms of governance," Saikawa told reporters at Nissan's headquarters in Yokohama Monday. "I have to say that this is a dark side of the Ghosn era which lasted for a long time."
Here are five things to know about Ghosn’s rise in the auto world.
1. He has two nicknames
In the late 1990s, Ghosn earned the nickname of “Le Cost Killer” for his radical restructuring of Renault, which returned the company to profitability. Then in the early 2000s, he earned the nickname of “Mr. Fix It” after he brought back Nissan from the brink of bankruptcy by orchestrating one of the most aggressive downsizing campaigns.
2. He’s in comic books
Due to his ability to turn auto businesses around, Ghosn gained celebrity status and has even been portrayed as a superhero in Japan’s comic book called the “Manga” series.
3. He was the first to invest in electric cars
His decision to invest more than $5 billion so Renault and Nissan could jointly develop a lineup of electric cars, including the Nissan Leaf, which was billed as “the world’s first affordable zero-emission car,” was featured in the 2011 documentary “Revenge of the Electric Car.”
4. He started out working as a plant manager
Ghosn started his career as a plant manager at Michelin in France and quickly rose to become the chairman and CEO of Michelin North America where he oversaw and managed the restructuring of the company after its acquisition of the Uniroyal Goodrich Tire Co.
5. Forbes magazine called him “the hardest working man” in the auto industry
The magazine referred to Ghosn as the “hardest-working man in the brutally competitive global car business” because he splits his time between Paris and Tokyo, logging roughly a 150,000 miles in airplanes a year. Meanwhile Japanese media have called him “Seven-Eleven” for his ability and drive to work hard from the early morning until late in the evening.