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Carlos Ghosn: A victim of his own genius?

2018 Renault Shareholders Annual General Meeting
Carlos Ghosn addresses the 2018 Renault Shareholders Annual General Meeting. (Photo: Handout from Renault Group)

Carlos Ghosn, a famous leader in the automotive world for over the past two decades, is still exiled in his native Lebanon after fleeing from his detention in Japan. Ghosn was held for months pending investigations into a tax evasion case he was accused of. However, Ghosn escaped — controversially and spectacularly — in a piano box on a private jet. اضافة اعلان

His arrest sent a wave through the automotive world and the globe. Ghosn once ran the largest global alliance in the auto industry, where he achieved unparalleled success with Nissan Renault and later Mitsubishi.

His saga was like a dream turned terrible nightmare that ended with him behind bars, and led to his notorious escape and life as a fugitive.

Ghosn, after his escape, said that his arrest in Japan was the result of “conspiracy and betrayal”; statements that he made more than once. The officials in the Nissan group wanted to prevent him from completing his plan to merge with the French giant Renault, he claimed, stressing that the plan was discussed with Nissan President Hiroto Saikawa.

It seems that Japan’s wrath against Ghosn was great and intense, which was evident after his forceful arrest and investigation. Additionally, Ghosn was dismissed almost immediately as CEO of Nissan and Mitsubishi.

However, what was really questionable and rather odd, was the delay in response from France’s Renault, who later followed suit with their agreement Japanese counterparts to dismiss their strongman.

Industry experts have speculated that Ghosn's recent moves to bolster Renault's influence in the alliance appear to have been the main reason for a possible "Japanese coup" against the former CEO.

This theory is reinforced by what Ghosn himself said during an interview with the Japanese economic newspaper Nikkei some time before his arrest. Ghosn said that he wanted the president of Mitsubishi Motors, Osamu Masuko, to participate in discussions about the future of the alliance, but Nissan President Saikawa wanted the discussions to be held "with each one separately."

Once a convergence of views was achieved between the heads of the three major companies, Ghosn wanted to ensure "the independence of each of the companies within the framework of the holding company.”

But, obviously the Japanese presidents and eventually the Japanese courts had different thoughts about Ghosn’s moves. He later stated that he had no doubts that the accusations against him were motivated by the knowledge of those responsible at Nissan.

However, regardless of what the truth is, Ghosn was a remarkable leader, and saved the Japanese car company Nissan in 1999. He was sent by Renault to Japan on a very special mission to save Nissan, whose sales fell by about 30 percent during that period. Nissan suffered from a budget deficit of $22 billion, and the company’s production decreased to only 1 million cars annually, but Carlos Ghosn managed, in just two years, to reduce the company’s debt from $22 billion to only $4 billion.

After nearly 20 years, he lead entire alliance to the throne of the global auto industry.

The coming days may or may not bring more wrinkles to Ghosn’s case, and the man may be rearrested and tried on charges, but his impressive record of success and achievements remains steadfast and bears witness to his administrative efficiency and leadership of unparalleled caliber.

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