Careful For What You Wish For, France: If Pushed, Ghosn Might Go

Picture courtesy Bertel Schmitt

It’s a hallowed industry tradition: Every six months or so, the media, led by Japan’s Nikkei, and with Bloomberg as the runner-up, speculates that Carlos Ghosn might retire as CEO of Nissan, Renault, or both, never mind that it never happens. Ghosn routinely resorts to a standard repartee, repeated like clockwork whenever a reporter brings up the question of Ghosn stepping down: “My plan is to continue to lead the Alliance as long as I have the trust of my shareholders.”

Last week, a hairline crack in the heretofore unconditional shareholder trust emerged.

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Hallway Radio: More bad news, and Volkswagen’s Mueller is out. Really bad news, and Ghosn is in

Carlos Ghosn TMS - Picture courtesy Bertel Schmitt

The savior?

Nerves are frayed in Wolfsburg, laid bare by the never-ending barrage of bad news. The suffering is getting so huge that cutting Volkswagen’s head off to end the pain becomes a viable option. Should the scandal spread from diesel to a large number of gasoline driven cars, VW’s new CEO Matthias Müller, along with Volkswagen’s complete Board of Management, will be replaced, says the Hallway Radio. [Continue Reading]

Carlos Ghosn promises Nissan shareholders EV with better-than-ICE range

Carlos Ghosn - Picture courtesy Bertel Schmitt

At yesterday’s shareholder conference in Yokohama, Nissan said it is already testing an electric vehicle that will provide the same range as today’s gasoline-driven cars. In front of a blue Nissan Leaf acting as a test mule for the new technology, Nissan’s CEO Carlos Ghosn said that “in the near future,” Nissan will offer EV mobility “comparative to today’s conventional vehicles.” According to Ghosn, Nissan is testing “new materials and chemistry solutions in order to make thinner, lighter weight and less costly batteries.” [Continue Reading]

Women to the front: Nissan practices the diversity others preach

Ghosn and diversity - Picture courtesy Bertel Schmitt

“Nissan counts more on female members than the rest of the industry,” Nissan/Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn said today in front of 260 new female team members, assembled at Nissan’s headquarters n Yokohama. They are the vanguard of a wave of women to become the faces of Nissan dealers across Japan. [Continue Reading]

Japan’s automakers exploit their CEOs

compensation

If there is one meeting all executives of Japan’s many automakers are looking forward to, then it is Nissan’s annual shareholders meeting. At this meeting, Nissan’s top executive tells his shareholders what his colleagues at Toyota, Honda, Mazda et al don’t dare to bring up: Japanese executives are grossly underpaid. Earning roughly $10 million a year in salary and bonuses, Ghosn may be the best paid top executive of a Japanese automaker. Compared to his peers in the West, Ghosn is in the poorhouse. [Continue Reading]

Ghosn reshuffles Nissan management, himself excluded

Ghosn Yokohama 11-1-2013 - Picture courtesy Bertel Schmitt

A long line of reporters and cameramen was waiting to gain entry to the large conference room at Nissan Yokohama HQ this late afternoon. The event, Nissan’s half year results, usually is an intimate affair, not this time. Word had spread in Tokyo that Carlos Ghosn would make an unscheduled appearance at an event, where usually the CFO, or a corporate VP in charge of investor relations, rattles off the numbers before everybody goes home. Why was Ghosn in Yokohama when he was scheduled to be in S. Korea? The speculation was that Ghosn might announce that he would step down as CEO of Nissan, and finally put a Japanese in charge, an event no member of the Fourth Estate would miss.

Again, they were mistaken. [Continue Reading]