Carlos Ghosn was until Monday the leader of the global automotive industry. As the first person who at the same time leads two Fortune 500 companies, he also enjoyed a unique position as the general manager of an important Japanese company – even winning the comic version of his life and rice sculpture his face in bento lunchboxes sold to Japanese businessmen.
However, in an extraordinary development that shocked the auto industry, Ghosn will now be released by Nissan on Thursday after alleged financial irregularities. Nissan did not abstain from the Ghosn statement, accusing him and his older colleague of "serious misconduct", including lowering remuneration for supervisors and misusing the company's assets. Renault and Mitsubishi Motors, headed by Ghosn, have not yet replied.
The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance – the manufacturer of every nine cars manufactured worldwide last year – is pulling away, without its totemic leader, because electric and autonomous car revolutions threaten the overthrow of recognized car makers' business models.
Born in Brazil in 1954 to Lebanese immigrants, Ghosna's rise to the top of the global automotive industry begins in France, where he studied at the prestigious École Polytechnique in Paris before joining Michelin, the French tire manufacturer. At the age of 27, he was the manager of the Michelin factory in France; at the age of 36, he was the chief manager of operations in North America.
In 1996, Ghosn (which rhymes with a "cone") was taken by Renault, where he made a deep restructuring – gaining the reputation of an elegant but ruthless style of management and the nickname "Le Cost Killer".
He repeated the trick in Nissan after Renault won 43.4% in 1999. Reducing the number of employees, but gaining heroic reputation in Japan due to quick return. Mitsubishi, plunged into a fuel-saving scandal, joined the alliance in 2016, creating the world's leading passenger car manufacturer through related shares.
However, Ghosn provoked anger when he earned a salary with a superstar. In 2016, he lost the right to vote because the French government, the main shareholder, objected to the EUR 7.4 million package (GBP 6.6 million). He also earned 735 million Japanese yen (5 million pounds) of salary from Nissan and 227 yen from Mitsubishi for the year ending in March 2018. According to annual reports.
Another reward in the vote in Renault this year has passed, reducing the pressure on Ghosn a bit, because it was thought that he was considering the full combination of Renault and Nissan.
But he thinks about simplifying the unorthodox structure can now take the back seat, because the other executives are dealing with the falling price of shares and are embarking on the long-awaited search for the successor of one of the best-known businessmen in the world.