By on May 10, 2013

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.

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18 Comments on “Nissan Friday: Ghosn Ain’t Going...”

  • avatar

    Ghosn, Marchionne, and Musk – colorful CEOs that make the automotive landscape more interesting.

    • 0 avatar

      +1 gslip, especially when contrasted with bullsht machines like Akerson.

    • 0 avatar

      Thanks Bertell for the series of posts. It’s really nice to get a first hand report like this.

      • 0 avatar

        Amen…. although, more text and fewer pix would be cool. Unless he could favor us with an animated .gif from them all.

        • 0 avatar

          I have made the world a better place today.

          • 0 avatar

            Awesome! Can you sync it to this Noh chanting and drop in the audio?

            (Maybe now it’ll display the link with some normal text below it.)

            Wierd… never mind… nothing I do will make that link display here even though it does in “Recent Comments”. I know other YouTube links work on this site…WTF

  • avatar
    Cammy Corrigan

    As much as I don’t like Carlos Ghosn, he’s done a good job at Nissan. Could it move in a better way? I think so. Could it be moving in a worse way (given the harsh economic climate)? Definitely. So, he has my respect for that. I’ve read both autobiographies about the turnaround at Nissan and I really thought that Renault were going to absorb Nissan for volume and pretty much destroy the Japanese company.

    But to Carlos’ credit, he made sure that while Renault and Nissan share parts, platforms and plants (like the alliteration?), he’s kept the two companies separate despite HEAVY pressure to further integrate. He stuck to his guns. He also turned Nissan around by not only cost cutting but by fostering growth in a new culture and by putting a premium on manufacturing. He wasn’t just trying to get a short term fix, he really was trying to make get back on his feet in a tenable way.

    Now has he had his (Ooooh! More alliteration!) failures? Definitely. His opening comments on hybrids going to fade away were misguided and his LEAF may not be setting the world on fire, but on the whole he’s earned his position through good management and understanding the industry he’s in.

    Having said all that, I can see what the Japanese reporter was trying say. I don’t think it would be a good idea to cede the CEO position to someone else, but maybe let the COO (Toshiyuki Shiga, I can’t remember) take over the running of Nissan for a while, so that Ghosn can concentrate on Renault a bit more. Renault does need more attention and even though they’ve announced a ton of job cuts, those jobs cuts need to be managed correctly (annoy a French union at your peril). I also think that a couple of plant closings will need to happen and Ghosn will definitely need to oversee that.

    In short, I think Renault does need Ghosn more than Nissan does. Question is, am I talking a load of twaddle…..?

    • 0 avatar

      No, I think you’re spot-on. The problem is, if I’m a Nissan shareholder, I’d want Ghosn to stay focused on Nissan, and to heck with Renault, which definitely needs more attention. The fact that Renault and Nissan are still very much separate companies, and Ghosn is both the reason they’re not integrated, and the glue holding them together, seems to mitigate against him spending too much time managing one over the other.

      • 0 avatar
        Cammy Corrigan

        Actually, if you’re a Nissan shareholder you’ve EVERY reason to want Ghosn to focus on Renault more than Nissan.

        1. Renault owns a significant stake in Nissan (As does Nissan in Renault, though less so). So if Renault starts to fail (or fails completely) that stake may get sold to some other owner who may not be able to maintain the same stable relationship with Nissan that they currently have with Renault. They have a known entity here, why chance it? Also, because Nissan own a stake in Renault, Shirley (He he!), you’d want to protect that investment? Also, morally speaking, when Renault bought into Nissan, Renault sent many of their resources over to Nissan to help them. It’s time to return the favour…

        2. If Renault goes belly-up, not only will it affect Nissan in the ways described in reason 1, it will also affect their business directly. Because Renault and Nissan share so many parts, platforms and plants, they can achieve economies of scale that the big three (GM, Toyota and Volkswagen) enjoy, but at the same time, because they stay as 2 separate companies, they can enjoy the other benefit of staying small and nimble enough to adapt to the markets and economies (Ford and Honda). So if Renault collapses, Nissan will lose not only a scale of 4 million cars, but also access to their manufacturing plants. It’d be the equivalent of someone like GM, Toyota or Volkswagen halving instantaneously. Which means the price cuts that Nissan are doing in the United States, in order to be more attractive on the market, would be much more difficult (if not impossible) without the extra volume that Renault provides.

        However, there is 1 factor that Renault has which Nissan doesn’t. A sugar daddy. The French government will loan (or even give) money to Renault in order to stay afloat. We can quote EU rules until we’re blue in the face, but the fact is, the French government will do what they need to in order to protect their business (Did I mention the French government own a stake in Renault?*). Is that a bad thing? That’s a topic for another time. But because of that wildcard, bitches**, Renault has more time to play with than Nissan would if they were in the same position.

        Anyway, thanks for reading….! :O)

        * =

        ** = If anyone knows why I said that, then you have good taste. :O)

  • avatar
    Domestic Hearse

    I’m sorry, but Ghosn’s eyes don’t pierce. They’re rather googly. Perhaps the reporter was google-eyed to his seat. Rather like being stared down by Mr Bean.

    • 0 avatar

      “Googly”? Look at that second picture. It’s like an owl deciding whether to slash your jugular or gouge out your eyes. Would you settle for “glare”?

  • avatar

    Sorry, but when I look at that first pic, all I hear in my head is Dieter from “Sprockets” saying “I am as happy as a little girl.”

  • avatar

    Come on, TTAC. At least two more pictures of Carlos Ghosn looking goofy, please.

    Together with the fivehead guy with the hilarious smile, Nissan’s executive team has brightened my day.

  • avatar

    When couple of weeks ago I walked past Nissan Headquarters in Yokohama (you know that passage over Nissan show room when you walk from Sky to Minato Mirai) there was some kind of show – loud drumming and shouting. I did not know what to think about it when it finally sunk in to me that it is a protest – one of the slogans was conveniently written in English. It said something like “stop Nissan restructuring” comparing it with criminal act and bloody murder. Japanese normally hide their feelings but those people who probably were laid off Nissan workers looked very unhappy with cruelty of the Western style management.

  • avatar

    Yup ghosh is amazing. 3.4 billion in profit for 2012, a year with dramatic sales increases compared to a tsunami affected 2011, plus a very favorable yen exchange rates and massive subsidies in Japan that goosed sales. Honda is even more amazing since they made 3.7 billion dollars for 2012. Honda’s profits which are 75% more than 2011 are less than half of Ford’s and Ford does not sell 15 million motorcycles and countless generators and lawn movers a year. Let’s call for Ackerson’s head even though GM is 20% more profitable than Honda. Honda doesn’t have to deal with its own country men wishing for its failure nor does it have a huge presence in Europe to be affected by the recession there.

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