|Birth Day:||March 9, 1954|
|Birth Place:||Porto Velho, Brazil|
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He received a degree in engineering and worked for the European tire maker Michelin & Cie.
Carlos Ghosn was born on 9 March 1954, in Porto Velho. When he was about two years old he became sick after drinking unsanitary water, and his mother moved with him to Rio de Janeiro. He did not fully recover there, and in 1960, when Ghosn was six years old, he and his mother and sister moved to Beirut, Lebanon, where his grandmother and two other sisters lived.
Carlos' father, Jorge Ghosn (died 2006) was a diamond trader and worked in the airline industry. Jorge was convicted of murdering a priest in Sawfar, Lebanon in 1960. Jorge fled to Brazil in 1975 at the outbreak of Lebanese Civil War.
Ghosn completed his secondary school studies in Lebanon, at the Jesuit school Collège Notre-Dame de Jamhour. He then completed his classes préparatoires in Paris, at the Collège Stanislas and the Lycée Saint-Louis. He graduated as an engineer from the École Polytechnique in 1974 and the École des Mines de Paris in 1978.
After graduation in 1978, Ghosn spent 18 years at Michelin, Europe's largest tyre maker, initially training and working in several plants in France and Germany. In 1981, he became plant manager in Le Puy-en-Velay, France. In 1984 he was named head of research and development for the company's industrial tyre division.
Ghosn's first marriage was to Rita Kordahi, who came originally from Rayfoun, Lebanon, and whom he met in France in 1984. Together they had four children: Caroline, Nadine, Maya and Anthony. They divorced in 2012. In May 2016, Ghosn married Lebanese-American Carole Nahas and, a few months later in October, threw a large-scale Marie Antoinette-themed party at the Grand Trianon of the Palace of Versailles, in the outskirts of Paris, to celebrate both the wedding and Carole's 50th birthday. He is reported by several Japanese media to have six private residences: in Tokyo, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, Amsterdam, Beirut and New York.
In 1985, when Ghosn was 30 years old, he was appointed chief operating officer (COO) of Michelin's South American operations. He returned to Rio de Janeiro, reporting directly to François Michelin, who tasked Ghosn with turning around the operation, which was unprofitable and struggling under Brazil's hyperinflation. Ghosn formed cross-functional management teams to determine best practices among the French, Brazilian, and other nationalities working in the South American division. The multicultural experience in Brazil formed the basis of his cross-cultural management style and emphasis on diversity as a core business asset. "You learn from diversity ... but you're comforted by commonality", Ghosn has said. The division returned to profitability in two years.
After turning around Michelin's South American operations, Ghosn was appointed president and COO of Michelin North America in 1989, and moved to Greenville, South Carolina, with his family. He was promoted to CEO of Michelin North America in 1990. He presided over the restructuring of the company after its acquisition of the Uniroyal Goodrich Tyre Company.
In 1996, Ghosn became executive vice president in charge of purchasing, advanced research, engineering and development, powertrain operations, and manufacturing at Renault; and he was also in charge of Renault's South American division, located in the Mercosur. Ghosn's radical restructuring of Renault successfully contributed to profitability of the company over 1997. His reputation of successful performance under François Michelin was repeated under the first CEO of the freshly privatized Renault.
In March 1999, Renault and Nissan formed the Renault–Nissan Alliance, and in May 1999 Renault purchased a 36.8% stake in Nissan. While maintaining his roles at Renault, Ghosn joined Nissan as its chief operating officer (COO) in June 1999, became its president in June 2000, and was named chief executive officer (CEO) in June 2001. When he joined the company, Nissan had a consolidated interest-bearing net automotive debt of more than $20 billion (more than 2 trillion yen), and only three of its 46 models sold in Japan were generating a profit. Reversing the company's sinking fortunes was considered nearly impossible.
Ghosn's "Nissan Revival Plan", announced in October 1999, called for a return to profitability in fiscal year 2000, a profit margin in excess of 4.5% of sales by the end of fiscal year 2002, and a 50% reduction in the current level of debt by the end of fiscal year 2002. Ghosn promised to resign if these goals were not met. Ghosn's Nissan Revival Plan called for cutting 21,000 Nissan jobs (14% of total workforce), mostly in Japan; shutting five Japanese plants; reducing the number of suppliers and shareholdings; and auctioning off prized assets such as Nissan's aerospace unit.
Beginning in November 2001, Ghosn's life story was turned into a superhero comic book series in Japan, titled The True Story of Carlos Ghosn, in the manga comic book Big Comic Superior. The series was published as a book in 2002. His face has been reproduced both in Lebanese postage stamps and in bento boxes in Japanese restaurants.
In May 2002, Ghosn announced his next set of goals for the company, "Nissan 180", a three-year plan for growth based on the numbers 1, 8, and 0: By the end of September 2005, Nissan planned to increase its global sales by one million vehicles; and by the spring of 2005, it was committed to achieving an operating margin of at least 8% and reducing its net automotive debt to zero. These goals were all reached: In the spring of 2003, Nissan announced that its net automotive debt was eliminated in fiscal year 2002. Nissan's operating profit margin climbed to 11.1% in fiscal year 2003; it had been 1.4% in fiscal year 1999. In October 2005, Nissan announced that its annual sales from 30 September 2004, to 30 September 2005, were more than 3.67 million, up from the 2.6 million vehicles sold in the fiscal year ended March 2002.
In May 2005, Ghosn was named president and chief executive officer of Renault. When he assumed the CEO roles at both Renault and Nissan, Ghosn became the world's first person to run two companies on the Fortune Global 500 simultaneously.
In 2005, billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian acquired a 9.9% stake in General Motors (GM) and seated one of his representatives on the company's board, then urged GM to investigate a merger with Renault and Nissan with Ghosn as the new chairman of GM. In 2006, GM's embattled management rebuffed the takeover attempt, and by the end of the year, Kerkorian's Tracinda Corp. sold most of its GM stock.
Although the company did not provide details, reports in the Japanese media stated that Nissan was paying all or some of the costs at some amount of US$18 million for residences used by Ghosn in Rio de Janeiro, Beirut, Paris and Amsterdam, and that Ghosn charged family vacation expenses to the company. The purchases of some of these residences and the payment of expenses were handled by a shell company named Zi-A Capital BV based in the Netherlands, which Kelly had instructed Nissan's board to set up to make venture investments at the end of 2010 (around the same time as Ghosn's divorce from his first wife and beginning of a relationship with his second wife). Nissan funds were used to purchase Ghosn's Paris apartment in 2005, and Zi-A funds were used to purchase his $5 million beachfront Rio apartment in 2012 and his Beirut mansion, which, with renovations, cost over $15 million. Nissan compliance auditors began trying to track Zi-A activity in 2014 but were stymied at first by the chain of shell companies used in Zi-A investments.
In 2006, Ford Motor Co. made Ghosn a formal offer to lead the company. Ghosn refused, reportedly saying the only way he would come to the struggling company was if he was named both the CEO and chairman of the board. Bill Ford Jr. refused to give up his chairmanship.
In 2007, Ghosn led the Renault–Nissan Alliance into the mass-market zero-emission electric car market in a major way, and committed €4 billion (more than $5 billion) to the effort. In 2008, he confirmed that Nissan–Renault would bring an "entire lineup" of zero-emission electric cars to the worldwide market by 2012. In 2009, he told the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business, "If you're going to let developing countries have as many cars as they want—and they're going to have as many cars as they want one way or another—there is absolutely no alternative but to go for zero emissions. And the only zero-emissions vehicle available today is electric ... So we decided to go for it." The Nissan Leaf, an electric car billed as "the world's first affordable zero-emission car", debuted in December 2010. As of 2017, the Renault–Nissan Alliance is the world's electric vehicle leader, selling more than twice as many electric cars as Tesla, and the Nissan Leaf is the world's best-selling electric vehicle by a wide margin.
In addition, to avoid reporting the full amount of his compensation in Nissan financials, as required by Japanese law beginning in 2010, Ghosn had Kelly structure complicated deferred payment plans which went unreported under an aggressive interpretation of the disclosure rules which Nissan's outside auditors had not signed off on, and which totaled around $80 million at the time of his arrest eight years later. According to Nikkei reports, Ghosn told investigators that he instructed Kelly to handle the compensation reporting in a legal manner, and Kelly told investigators that he acted on advice from outside law firms and the Financial Services Agency in handling the reporting. Leaks to the media said that Ghosn had planned to call a vote to fire Nissan CEO Saikawa and reinstate Kelly (who had semi-retired to the U.S. in 2015) to active service at the scheduled board meeting.
Ghosn was a visible leader in recovery efforts after the Japanese earthquake and tsunami on 11 March 2011, one of the worst natural disasters in modern history. On 29 March 2011, he made the first of several visits to the hard-hit Iwaki engine plant in Fukushima prefecture, 50 km (31 miles) from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, and at his direction Nissan restored full operations at the Iwaki factory well ahead of expectations. He appeared on television in Japan to encourage optimism. In May 2011, Ghosn remained committed to building at least 1 million of Nissan's cars and trucks in Japan annually. In 2011 Ghosn was under scrutiny by the French government for mishandling a spying scandal related to Renault.
In June 2012, Ghosn was named deputy chairman of the board of directors of Russian automobile manufacturer AvtoVAZ. In June 2013, he was appointed chairman of the Russian company, a position he retained through June 2016. Renault had begun a strategic partnership with AvtoVAZ in 2008 by acquiring a 25% stake in the company; this led to increasingly deeper partnerships between Renault–Nissan and AvtoVAZ, ending in Renault–Nissan Alliance control of the Russian automaker in 2014.
Ghosn is multilingual, speaking four languages fluently: French, Portuguese, English, and Arabic, and he has also studied Japanese. He is a partner in Ixsir, a winery in the northern coastal town of Batroun, Lebanon. In 2012 he was named to the Honorary Board of the American Foundation of Saint George Hospital in Beirut.
Ghosn served on the International Advisory Board of Brazilian bank Banco Itaú (a major party in the privatisation of Renault) until 2015. He is also a member of the Advisory Board of Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management in Beijing. He has received an honorary doctorate from American University of Beirut; and he is a member of the Strategic Council, Saint Joseph University of Beirut. In 2014 and 2015, he was elected president of the European Automobile Manufacturers Association. He serves as governor of the World Economic Forum.
In October 2016, Nissan completed the acquisition of a controlling 34% stake in Mitsubishi Motors. Ghosn became, in addition to his Renault–Nissan posts, chairman of Mitsubishi, with an aim to rehabilitate the automaker after a months-long scandal involving fuel-economy misrepresentation and consequent falling revenues. The Nissan–Mitsubishi partnership includes partnership in developing electric automobiles for Mitsubishi, and the Renault–Nissan–Mitsubishi Alliance creates the world's fourth-largest auto group, after Toyota, Volkswagen AG, and General Motors Co.
In February 2017, Ghosn announced he would step down as CEO of Nissan on 1 April 2017, while remaining chairman of the company. Hiroto Saikawa, succeeded Ghosn at Nissan. In November 2018, Renault owned 43.4% of Nissan, while Nissan owned non-voting shares equal to 15% of Renault's equity.
Mitsubishi Motors board removed Ghosn from his role as chairman on 26 November 2018, following his arrest and ousting from Nissan for alleged financial misconduct.
On 19 November 2018, Tokyo District Prosecutors arrested Ghosn at 4:30 p.m. upon his re-entry into Japan aboard a private jet that had come from Lebanon, for questioning over allegations of false accounting. Ghosn's top aide Greg Kelly, a Nissan director and former head of human resources, was also arrested upon his arrival from the U.S. that day.
On 21 December 2018, Ghosn was re-arrested on suspicion of shifting to Nissan personal losses of US$16.6 million related to a personal swap contract in October 2008 (during the global financial crisis). The introduction of those charges prevented Ghosn's release on bail later the same day, because the new charges permitted an additional 10–20 days of incarceration prior to a bail hearing. Subsequent reporting linked this charge to Ghosn's dealings with Sheikh Khaled al-Juffali, the vice chairman of one of Saudi Arabia's largest conglomerates and majority owner of a company which owns half of a regional joint venture called Nissan Gulf, with the other half held by a wholly owned Nissan subsidiary. In return for a personal letter of credit from Juffali to Ghosn during the 2008 crisis, which served as bank-demanded collateral for Ghosn's swap contract, Nissan indirectly paid $14.7 million from an internal discretionary fund known as the "CEO Reserve" to a wholly owned Juffali company in four installments between 2009 and 2012, although the internal documentation did not specify the ultimate recipient. According to Tokyo prosecutors, Kelly was not involved in this transaction and so was released on bail on 25 December.
Ghosn's imprisonment was set to end on 11 January. That day, Ghosn was indicted on two additional charges: aggravated breach of trust and understating his income, once again extending his imprisonment. As a result, he could remain in jail for months more before a trial takes place. Two days later, Nissan's investigation allegedly found that, in addition to the underreporting of salary already charged, Ghosn had paid himself an undisclosed $8 million in 2018 from a Netherlands-based joint venture owned by Nissan and Mitsubishi that was set up in 2017, without the knowledge of either company's directors because Ghosn had the sole authority to dispense cash from the venture.
On 3 April, Ghosn tweeted that he was "ready to tell the truth" and that he would hold a conference on 11 April. He was re-arrested for the fourth time early on 4 April over new suspicions of financial misconduct concerning alleged dealings via Oman. Ghosn released a statement claiming the arrest was "outrageous and arbitrary". Until that point in time he had been held for 108 days since he was first arrested in November 2018.
On 11 January 2019 José Muñoz, Nissan's chief performance officer and head of its China operations, resigned from the company, effective immediately. Muñoz, considered to be a close ally to Ghosn and a possible successor as CEO of Renault and Nissan, had been a "person of interest" in Nissan's internal investigation, with which he was reported to be uncooperative. One of Nissan's three independent directors opined that Nissan may simply eliminate the position of chairman and not replace Ghosn, a route previously taken by other scandal-plagued Japanese companies. The Reuters Japan news service reported that Nissan may file suit against Ghosn personally.
At first the French government and Renault had been reported to be standing behind Ghosn during his imprisonment, on the presumption that Ghosn is innocent until proven guilty. However, France's financial minister Bruno Le Maire stated on 16 January that Renault may seek a new CEO to replace Ghosn due to his continued incarceration. Renault possibly worried about Nissan taking the chance to use the power vacuum at Renault to reshape the alliance's balance of power. After the French government called for leadership change and his bail requests were rejected by the Japanese courts, Ghosn finally agreed to step down. He resigned as chairman and CEO of Renault on 24 January 2019.
In early March, Ghosn was granted a request for bail in a Tokyo court. This was his third bail request, and the first by his new legal team under Hironaka. The court set bail at 1 billion yen (about US$9 million) subject to stringent conditions. He was not allowed to travel abroad, and had to remain at a given address under 24-hour camera surveillance, with no internet access. He was released on 6 March 2019.
On 8 April 2019, during an extraordinary shareholders meeting, Nissan shareholders voted to remove Carlos Ghosn from the company board. Shareholders also voted to remove Ghosn's former right-hand man Greg Kelly, and to appoint Renault chairman Jean-Dominique Senard as a director. The next day, Ghosn posted a YouTube video, where he publicly stated that he was "innocent of all the accusations that came around these charges that are all biased, taken out of context, twisted in a way to paint a personage of greed, and a personage of dictatorship". He also claimed that the payments to Juffali were meant to help Nissan fix a dispute with a local distributor, and to open a bank contract to convert his salary from yen to US dollars, in order to avoid currency swings.
In June 2019 Renault published that in an internal audit they had uncovered 11 million euros in questionable expenses by Ghosn, which was followed by the French state opening its own investigation into his actions. Prosecutors in the district of Nanterre west of Paris stated that anti-fraud police had searched his residence in the town of L'Étang-la-Ville for evidence. In July Renault's headquarters in Boulogne-Billancourt were searched by 20 police personnel in relation to this case. July also saw Carlos Ghosn take action against French mass-media for libel.
On 30 December 2019, numerous media outlets reported that Ghosn had escaped from Japan and arrived in Beirut, Lebanon. Ghosn later confirmed these reports through a statement released by his press representative in New York. In his statement, Ghosn claimed that he would "no longer be held hostage by a rigged Japanese justice system where guilt is presumed, discrimination is rampant and basic human rights are denied."
Ghosn later addressed reports that his family, including his wife Carole, may have played a role in his departure from Japan, stating that "such speculation is inaccurate and false." On 7 January, prosecutors in Japan issued an arrest warrant for Carole Ghosn on suspicion of giving false testimony during a court hearing in April 2019.
Arrest warrants issued by Japanese prosecutors on 30 January 2020 claimed that the escape operation was orchestrated by former United States Army Special Forces soldier Michael Taylor, a private-security contractor with extensive contacts in Lebanon. The warrants also claimed that Michael was assisted by his son Peter Maxwell Taylor and a third American, George Antoine Zayek. Michael Taylor had conducted similar international rescue operations in the past and has also served time in prison in the United States. On 20 May, United States authorities arrested Michael and Peter Taylor on suspicion of helping Ghosn escape. On 30 October 2020, the US has agreed to extradite the Taylors to Japan.
Carlos Ghosn held his first press conference since leaving Japan on 8 January 2020, in which he described his imprisonment conditions, pleaded innocence and named Nissan executives who plotted his demise. He claimed that when he left Japan, "I fled injustice and political persecution. The next day, Judge Ghassan Ouiedat, a Lebanese prosecutor, imposed a travel ban on Ghosn. After his escape from Japan, Carlos Ghosn's Japanese lawyer and seven other members of his defense resigned. His lawyer, Junichiro Hironaka, said his escape was a "complete surprise".
On 3 November 2020, Lebanon's prosecutor general decided not to charge Ghosn for visiting Israel in 2008 because a statute of limitations has expired.
Currently, Carlos Ghosn is 69 years, 2 months and 20 days old. Carlos Ghosn will celebrate 70th birthday on a Saturday 9th of March 2024.
Find out about Carlos Ghosn birthday activities in timeline view here.