Brazilian-born Carlos Ghosn arrived in Japan in 1999 to revive the fortunes of Nissan which was not an easy task as he had to fire more than 20,000 employees and close assembly plants. He not only brought Nissan back to its own feet but also made it a top manufacturer. For many, he is a true hero. Born on March 9, 1954, to Lebanese parents, his family moved to Lebanon when he was a toddler, and he later studied engineering at Ecole Polytechnique and Ecole des Mines de Paris in France, where he is a citizen.
Fluent in French, Arabic, English and Portuguese and quickly catching up Japanese, Ghosn is the quintessential international businessman. His career in the auto industry began in 1978 at Europe’s largest tyremaker Michelin, where he worked for 18 years, moving up the ranks from plant manager to chief operating officer.
Since May 2005, all the while staying at the helm of Nissan, he has taken the reins of French car maker Renault, which owns 44 per cent of Nissan. Running two of the world’s biggest car companies means splitting his time between Paris and Tokyo and fitting in meetings, visits to plants and dealerships, as well as attending car shows and catalysing model launches all over the world.