Carlos Ghosn - The Turnaround Specialist

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Case Details:

Case Code : LDEN020
Case Length : 09 Pages
Period : 1978-2002
Pub Date : 2003
Teaching Note : Available
Organization : Nissan
Industry : Automobiles
Countries : Japan

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Please note:

This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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"Carlos Ghosn is a perfect example of how one person can create drastic change. He did it making practically no personnel changes. It was the same company. He was the difference."

- Emil Hassan, Senior Vice-President - Nissan North America.

"There is no company whose middle managers can't be unfrozen by strong and clear leadership from the top, and Carlos Ghosn is going to supply lots of that."

- Nick Snee, Analyst - J. P. Morgan Securities', Commenting on leadership of Ghosn.

"Top of the wish list for Volkswagen would be Ghosn - if he were appointed, the stock would shoot to the sky."

- A European Analyst.

A Democratic Leader

Carlos Ghosn, (Ghosn) had become a celebrity by early 2000s, for turning around Japanese auto major Nissan Motor Co into a success. This success at Nissan attracted the attention of Japanese people and media alike. A Japanese comic book Big Comic Superior serialized Ghosn's life history. The comic book aimed at energizing executives between the age group of 25-40. Akihiro Yoshino, editor Big Comic Superior said, "Ghosn-san has reformed the company and achieved a result that didn't seem possible in a Japanese framework. He has a message of hope that has woken people up to new possibilities and we wanted to convey that message." Ghosn became so popular in Japan that people gathered in large numbers at his site to get a photograph taken with him.

According to a Japanese media opinion poll, Japanese women named Ghosn as one of the top four men, whom they would like to have a child with. Analysts felt that such admiration from the Japanese was not surprising as Ghosn achieved a remarkable feat, which seemed quite impossible in 1999...

The Odyssey

Ghosn was born in Brazil on March 9, 1954 to Jorge and Rose Ghosn. He was the second child of his parents, who were both of Lebanese origin (though, his mother possessed French citizenship). Ghosn's father had a business in Brazil and when Ghosn was six years old, his family shifted back to Lebanon, while his father stayed back in Brazil. Like all Lebanese families, Ghosn's family was also a close-knit one. Though his father was away from him, he played a major role in the day-to-day affairs of the family and had tremendous influence on Ghosn by instilling discipline and core values in him.

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