Then, finally, a reporter asks Ghosn when he intends to pack up and leave. Of course, this is Japan, and the question is asked in a circuitous way. The reporter argues that Nissan now makes solid profits, hence Ghosn could perhaps put the company into the hands of someone else, such allowing Ghosn to focus fully on Renault, which needs all the help it can get. This suggestion earns the reporter a likewise polite rebuke. Ghosn thanks him “for taking care of my own organization.” Pierced by Ghosn’s trademark laser eyes, the reporter deflates into his seat.
The meme that gaijin has done his duty, the gaijin can go back to Paris, is nothing new. The Nikkei tried it two years ago, which earned the wire a robust reprimand. A year later, Bloomberg tried it, and was likewise rebuffed. Now the matter degraded into a question on the mind of freelance journalist Inoue-san. Ghosn tells him, and the room, that he’s not going anywhere – unless he’s told by the people who really have the say at Nissan.
“I serve the shareholders. As long as the shareholders of Nissan want me to continue to be the CEO of Nissan, I will continue to be the CEO of Nissan. As long as the shareholders of Renault want me to continue to be the CEO of Renault, I will continue to be the CEO of Renault. The day the shareholders say: ‘Stop, we want someone only dedicated to us,’ then it will be different. If the shareholders are happy, you continue. If the shareholders are not happy, you stop.”
Ghosn’s contract at Nissan was extended on April 1, 2013.
And this concludes our Nissan Friday. Have a nice weekend.