Carlos Ghosn was Chairman and CEO of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, the automotive collaboration of France’s Groupe Renault, Japan’s Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. and Mitsubishi Motors Corp. He was also Chairman and CEO of Groupe Renault.
Ghosn is perhaps best known for orchestrating the remarkable turnaround of Nissan from near bankruptcy in 1999-2000. In addition to being the auto industry’s longest-servig CEO, he is the first executive to run two companies on the Fortune Global 500 simultaneously.
When Ghosn joined Nissan in 1999, it had debt of $20 billion and only four of its 48 models generated a profit. Twelve months into his three-year turnaround plan, Nissan was again in the black, and within three years it was one of the industry’s most profitable automakers.
Ghosn is an outspoken proponent of zero-emission electric vehicles. Led by the innovative Nissan LEAF and Renault ZOE, the automakers were the first to offer a fleet of affordable, mass-market EVs. As of late 2018, the Alliance had sold more than 680,000 EVs. Today, more than half the EVs on the world’s roads were produced by the Renault-Nissan Alliance.
Ghosn also established the Alliance as a leader in the development of future automotive technology, such as autonomous drive and connected vehicles and services.
He divided his time between Renault in Paris and Nissan and Mitsubishi in Japan. Forbes described him as “the hardest-working man in the brutally competitive global car business.”
The Alliance – which also includes Russia’s largest automaker, AVTOVAZ – has grown to become one of the world’s largest automotive groups. The companies sold 10,6 million vehicles in 2017, about one in nine sold worldwide.
Its top 10 markets in 2017 were China, the United States, France, Japan, Russia, Mexico, Germany, United Kingdom, Italy and Brazil. Its vehicles are sold under 10 brands: Renault, Dacia, Renault Samsung, Alpine, Nissan, Infiniti, Datsun, Mitsubishi, Venucia and Lada.
The Alliance remains the most productive, longest-lasting, cross-cultural partnership in automotive history.
Mr. Ghosn serves on the International Advisory Council of Tsinghua University in Beijing and the Strategic Council of Saint Joseph University in Beirut. He was the only major auto industry CEO born and raised in emerging markets. Born in Brazil in 1954, he spent much of his youth in Lebanon. He graduated with engineering degrees from France’s École Polytechnique (Class of 1974) and from École des Mines de Paris in 1978.