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Is Nissan’s Ghosn Ready to Retire?

Exec dropping hints - but would he vanish entirely?

by on Jun.25, 2012

Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn.

One of the auto industry’s most widely respected CEOs is sending signals that he might like to retire.  But those who wonder how Nissan and its alliance partner Renault would replace 58-year-old Carlos Ghosn there may be no need to worry immediately.

The Brazilian-born executive, who serves as chief executive for both Nissan and Renault, may be ready to step down, but only sometime during the upcoming 5-year business cycle, company officials caution.

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“Ghosn has said this is the last midterm plan he’ll commit to, meaning he may not stay here for the next midterm period,” Nissan spokesman Koji Okuda told the Bloomberg news service, adding that, “We need to prepare for his possible departure within a five-year period.

It is quite possible, several industry sources suggest, that Ghosn would not bow out entirely from the Euro-Asian alliance, which was created when Renault made a critical $6 billion investment in Nissan in 1999.

Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn shown with the Infiniti LE battery-car concept during the recent NY Auto Show.


Nissan-Renault Alliance Sees Global Demand Surge

Global partners set new sales record for 2011.

by on Jan.11, 2012

Renault-Nissan Alliance CEO Carlos Ghosn sees partnership with Daimler heating up.

Despite the economic problems in Europe and concerns about a double-dip recession in the U.S., the Euro-Asian Renault-Nissan Alliance set a sales record in 2011, collectively marketing a total 8.03 million vehicles around the world, including 4.67 million vehicles for Nissan, 2.72 million for Renault, and 638,000 for AvtoVAZ, their Russian partner.

The Alliance achieved a 10.3% increase in volume from the 7.28 million vehicles sold across the Alliance in calendar-year 2010 despite an unusually harsh year, in which the auto industry faced the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, the October flooding in Thailand, the abnormal strength of the yen and eurozone uncertainties.

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“Partnerships are key to regional growth and a key reason the Alliance achieved a new sales record,” said Carlos Ghosn, the Brazilian-born executive who serves as CEO for both Nissan and Renault.

The Japanese side of the alliance was a particular stand-out considering the disasters in Japan and subsequent flooding in Thailand.  In contrast to rivals Toyota and Honda, who struggled with product shortages until late in the year, Nissan was already nearing full-speed production by July. But it might not have gone so well.


Renault’s #2 Resigns in Spy Scandal

Pelata, four others ousted but CEO Ghosn survives purge.

by on Apr.12, 2011

Renault COO Patrick Pelata resigns.

Renault’s second-in-command is stepping down, as are four other senior executives implicated in a spy scandal that has shaken up the French automaker – but CEO Carlos Ghosn has apparently been spared in a purge ordered by the maker’s largest shareholder, the French government.

Patrick Pelata will leave his post as Renault’s chief operating officer, though take on a more modest role with the Renault-Nissan Alliance, the maker’s partnership with Japan’s second-largest automaker.  CEO Ghosn originally had refused to accept Pelata’s resignation but his second-in-command was forced out after French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde said those responsible for a messy spy scandal “must depart.”

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The crisis was kicked off, early this year, when Renault ousted three senior executives involved with its aggressive electric vehicle program.  An anonymous source had claimed they were being paid to leak critical information to the Chinese.  But, after an investigation by French intelligence, it turned out the three executives were themselves victims of an attempted shakedown by members of Renault’s own security department.