The Global Leadership of Carlos Ghosn at Nissan

“I did not try to learn toomuch about Japan before coming, because I didn’t want to have too
many preconceived ideas. I wanted to discover Japan by being in Japanwith Japanese people.”1
“Well, I think I am a practical person. I know I may fail at any moment. In my opinion, it was
extremelyhelpful to be practical [at Nissan], not to be arrogant, and to realize that I could fail
at any moment.”
Carlos Ghosn, 2002Introduction
Nissan had been incurring losses for seven of the prior eight years when, in March 1999, Carlos Ghosn
(pronounced GOHN) tookover as the first non-Japanese Chief Operating Officer of Nissan. Many
industry analysts anticipated a culture clash between theFrench leadership style and his new Japanese
employees. For these analysts, the decision to bring Ghosn in came at the worst possible timebecause
the financial situation at Nissan had become critical. The continuing losses were resulting in debts
(approximately $22billion) that were shaking the confidence of suppliers and financiers alike. Furthermore, the Nissan brand was weakening in the minds ofconsumers due to a product portfolio that consisted of models far older than competitors. In fact, only four of the company’s 43 [continua]

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