Still Talking: Ghosn Names Names at Nissan, Wishes He'd Taken Up Obama on That Whole GM Thing
Former Renault and Nissan boss and current fugitive from Japanese justice Carlos Ghosn said he’d open up in front of the cameras, and boy, did he ever. After discussing what he says was brutal confinement and “injustice” at the hands of Japanese officials, as well as the motivation behind the alleged “plot” to oust him from his Nissan chairman position, Ghosn meandered into other topics of interest.
Clearly, the former auto titan wishes nothing but the worst for the company he once chaired.
As reported by Reuters, Ghosn provided a list of names of Nissan executives he believes helped orchestrate, with the help of Japanese government officials, his November 2018 arrest. Those persons include Masakazu Toyoda, an independent director at Nissan who happens to be a adviser to the Japanese government; former Nissan auditor Hidetoshi Imazu; and former Nissan executive vice president Hitoshi Kawaguchi.
Ghosn was reluctant to name Japanese officials, claiming he didn’t want to start something between that country and his current sanctuary of Lebanon.
Ghosn fled house arrest in Tokyo on December 29th before turning up in Lebanon, where he holds citizenship. In that country, Ghosn and his wife, both the subject of Japanese arrest warrants, are safe from extradition. However, should Carole Ghosn use her American passport to return to that country, she could face arrest and transfer to Japan to face charges of lying during testimony. Like her husband, she denies the allegations against her.
Ghosn claimed the plot to oust him as he angled for a closer alliance (but not a merger) between Renault and Nissan is an intricate one, but said he believes Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe had no involvement in the supposed corporate/political coup.
As for Nissan, Ghosn had harsh words. “They said they wanted to turn the Ghosn page. Well, they have been very successful,” he said, his words dripping with schadenfreude. “What we see today is a masquerade of an alliance … that is not going to go anywhere.”
The ousted executive marvelled at the timing of his arrest, which came as he was attempting to bring Fiat Chrysler into a potentially lucrative merger.
“How do you miss that? It’s unbelievable,” he said.
After mentioning Nissan’s plummeting market cap, Ghosn entered the realm of historical revisionism. The former savior of Renault and Nissan said he should have taken up Obama administration auto guru Steve Rattner’s offer to lead General Motors out of bankruptcy.
As for his present situation, Ghosn claimed he does not think of Lebanon as a prison, claiming he will use his freedom in that country to prove his innocence, adding that he expects to stay there a long time.
[Image: Plamen Galabov/Shutterstock]
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I think their main issue is they never globalized their manufacturing ability, and the yen worked against them. The mergers were mainly an attempt to rectify that but they had no product or cultural alignment. So I agree it’s fair to blame Ghosn but this has been a slowly sinking ship since before him. My last car was a Maxima - liked a lot about it but MSRP on them is insane compared to what you can cross shop (not to mention the Altima is nearly the same). Nissan (and Infiniti’s) product line is way too bloated. Six SUV models? Crazy.
Lebanon is lucky to get executive of Ghosn's caliber 100% at their disposal. They can utilize his talents - Israel has hundreds of people who can eat Ghosn for breakfast.