Leadership the Carlos Ghosn way

Nissan and Renault chief executive Carlos Ghosn is the man of the moment. How long his stardom rating will continue is unknown. For the moment his effectiveness in turning around Nissan and now running both Renault and Nissan seem borne out by the facts.

by Forbes, May 22 2006
Last Updated: 23 Jul 2013

Before Ghosn took over at Nissan, the company had amassed $19 billion in debt; in 2000 Ghosn had restored profits and cut debt in half in two years. This article reveals Ghosn’s unusually tough personal regime – even by most global company standards – with a regular commute between Paris and Tokyo.

His flights between the two cities serve as useful time for him to reflect and think critically (most of us would want to sleep!). Typically, he can arrive at 04.30 in France, shower at home, have a fast breakfast with his family and be at work in Paris by 08.30.

Some of the most interesting revelations in this article relate to Ghosn’s personal management style, which is tough, demanding and straightforward. Take, for instance, Ghosn’s reported visit to the Nissan plant in Sunderland in north-east England, which is regarded as one of the top plants in the world in terms of efficiency and productivity. After hearing a highly respectable presentation from the senior VP of industrial operations for Nissan Europe about productivity and quality improvements, Ghosn interjected that it was not enough to benchmark against Europe, he must also benchmark against India. A Renault (India) study was soon winging its way to the Nissan VP.

I’ll leave you with one choice quote from the man himself which was delivered to some of his employees and sums up his philosophy very neatly: "These days everybody is worried about the future. It’s not good enough to say we’re better than we were before. If you improve by 3% but competitors are improving by 5%, you’re actually becoming less competitive."

Source: The Impatient Mr Ghosn
Joann Muller
Forbes, May 22 2006

Review by Morice Mendoza

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