Who is Carlos Ghosn? | CNBC Explains

Who is Carlos Ghosn? | CNBC Explains


Carlos Ghosn was a businessman with a cult-like
following. Credited with single-handedly turning around
the fortunes of several major companies, he was showered with awards, flattering profiles
and even appeared on a stamp. But now, one of the world’s most powerful
executives is in the limelight, as a fugitive. So who is Carlos Ghosn and how did we get
here? This story is turning into a global catch-me-if-you-can
caper. He claims he’s the victim of a conspiracy
to oust him. This is just cruel and they’re punishing
us. It was an unexpected surprise.
I’m shocked and confused. These allegations are untrue, and I should
have never been arrested in the first place. His dramatic cross-country escape has enthralled
people around the world. Ghosn gained business fame for creating what
was essentially the world’s largest automaker. He held the Chairman and CEO position for
a strategic alliance among three car companies Renault, Mitsubishi and most famously,
Nissan. And now, more than a year after he was first
arrested over alleged financial wrongdoing, Ghosn has become a fugitive on Interpol’s
wanted list. At 65 years old, Carlos Ghosn carried out
an elaborate escape from his home in Japan to Lebanon, reportedly with the help of a
former American Green Beret. This was no easy feat, especially considering
that he was under 24-hour camera surveillance and house arrest, with virtually no internet
access. Lebanese by heritage, Ghosn is a citizen of
three different countries. Brazil, where he was born. Lebanon, where he grew up. And France, where he was educated at some
of the country’s most prestigious schools. He later credited that diverse background
as the main reason why he was able to make inroads in Japan’s corporate culture, which
has traditionally viewed foreigners with suspicion. Following his schooling, Ghosn spent 18 years
with tire-maker Michelin, eventually working his way up to Michelin’s chief executive of North American operations. In 1996, he moved over to Renault, where he
was put in charge of the automaker’s struggling South America division. His dramatic restructuring of the branch,
and its subsequent return to profitability, earned him the nickname ‘Le cost killer.’ Three years later, as Renault acquired stakes
in Nissan, Ghosn was sent to Tokyo for another rescue. At the time, the Japanese carmaker was $35
billion in debt. But once again Ghosn stepped in with dramatic
measures, closing factories and laying off 1 out of every 7 workers. In just six years, Nissan passed Honda to
become Japan‘s number two automaker. Now CEO after reviving the near-bankrupt company, Ghosn had earned another nickname for himself, ‘Mr Fix-It.’ In 2005, he was appointed CEO of Renault,
making him the first executive to helm two Fortune 500 companies simultaneously. And in 2016, Ghosn became Mitsubishi’s chairman, as the Japanese car manufacturer joined
Renault and Nissan’s notable alliance. The additional salary made Ghosn one of the
auto industry’s best paid executives. So what caused his downfall, turning him from
one of the most powerful executives in the auto industry to an international
fugitive on Interpol’s red list? For that, we have to delve into
what he’s allegedly done wrong. Carlos Ghosn’s first arrest was at Haneda
Airport in Tokyo on November 2018, charged with underreporting his earnings by about
$48 million between 2010 and 2015. He was arrested alongside Nissan’s
former head of legal, Greg Kelly, who is currently still in custody in Tokyo. Ghosn’s fall from grace happened swiftly following allegations of excessive
and improper spending. One of those allegations was that he threw
a series of lavish parties at the Palace of Versailles. In 2014, he spent more than $800,000 on an
event to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the Renault-Nissan alliance, an event which
coincidentally fell on his 60th birthday. In 2016, he hosted his own wedding at the
Palais, which is the subject of a further investigation by anti-fraud police in
France, who claim company funds were inappropriately funnelled to
the value of more than $53,000. Nissan has said that Ghosn had
purchased and renovated properties in Rio de Janeiro, Paris, Amsterdam
and Beirut using their funds. They also say he spent hundreds of thousands
of dollars of company funds on family vacations and even his children’s tuitions
at Stanford University. Lavish pay and perks certainly
aren’t unheard of for a CEO. But in Japan, where the median executive salary
is nearly one-tenth of what it is in the U.S., it rubbed people the wrong way. Ghosn’s leadership, and its
associated cost cuts and lay-offs, were pretty much imposed on Nissan by Renault. His pay and management decisions only
added to the building of resentment. Well, there must have been scepticism, resentment
at the beginning, when you came in. That’s normal. I was expecting it. I don’t want people to judge me
or to judge Nissan on words. I want them to judge on facts, and on performance. Shortly after his 2018 arrest, Ghosn’s time
at the helm of Nissan, Mitsubishi and Renault came to an end. After spending more than 100 days in
detainment, he was granted bail in March 2019. That release was short-lived. He was re-arrested a month later as Japanese
prosecutors brought fresh charges against him. This time, they claimed he illegally
misappropriated $5 million from Nissan between July 2017 and July 2018. Ghosn maintained throughout this that
these allegations are all unfounded and are part of a coup to remove him from power. Conditions of his second bail
arrangement included house arrest and 24-hour camera surveillance. It was Ghosn’s next big move that
captured the world’s attention. At the end of December, Ghosn managed to
leave his Tokyo home and travel to Osaka. There, he snuck onto a private
jet to flee to Istanbul, Turkey and then another to his final
destination: Beirut, Lebanon. Lebanon received a “red notice” from Interpol,
seeking Ghosn’s location, arrest and extradition. Ghosn, who faces up to 10 years in jail if found guilty, has professed his innocence to the
charges of financial misconduct. However, Lebanon has no
extradition treaty with Japan. Japanese prosecutors have also issued a
warrant for the arrest of Ghosn’s wife, Carole, who is in Lebanon with her husband, on the
basis of false statements made to a Japanese court. Unlike her husband, she could be subject to an extradition request, due to her American passport. Ghosn is also facing possible sanctions
following a potential violation of Lebanese law by visiting Israel, a country with
strenuous ties to Lebanon, in 2008. He has since apologized for the trip. On January 8th, Ghosn spoke to the media
for the first time since his 2018 arrest. He cited many reasons for his escape, including
the amount of time he had already spent in custody without a date for his trial. I have looked forward to this every
single day for more than 400 days since I was brutally taken from my world as I knew it. This was the most difficult decision of my life, but let us not forget that I was facing a system where the conviction rate is 99.4 per cent. The former executive told reporters he
is willing to face trial for his alleged financial misconduct in the three countries where
he is a citizen – Lebanon, Brazil or France. A lot of people perceive this
as I’m running from justice, which is really the last thing I want to do. If I had some reassurance that I
would get a fair trial in Japan, and if there was a possibility for my wife to join
me in Japan, I would have stayed in Japan. Because this is the place where I should
have defended my name and my reputation. The Renault–Nissan–Mitsubishi
Alliance is also at stake, with the man who brought them
together now out of the picture. Nissan, Mitsubishi and Renault were some of
the worst-performing car stocks of 2019, declining 28, 24 and 23-percent respectively. And as Ghosn mounts his defence, he has already
cast a spotlight on Japan’s judicial system and the country’s reputation with foreign investors. What if you have to spend the rest
of your life in Lebanon, though? Are you ready for that? Well, it’s better than spending
the rest of my life in Japan. So, what’s your thoughts on the Carlos Ghosn story? Share with us your comments. And for more content like this, do
subscribe to our YouTube channel.

About the Author: Michael Flood

100 Comments

  1. Guilty or not i have so much respect for this guy, he's living the life and amazing adventure only a few of us can ever dream of.

  2. Living in Japan, I too recognize that Japan is the developed saudi arabia. There is no fair trial. If you are convicted, 100% time you end up in jail.

  3. Carlos Ghosn is a very smart gentleman, spending several thousand for a party after resuscitating BILLION of dollars company, he still is a cheaper solution… If only Ford or GM take him to the US, the Japanese has nothing else to say

  4. Most Japanese managers spend thousands of dollars per night in corporate money at places called Kyabakura. Basically night clubs where beautiful girls are paid to flirt with them. Basically on legal proatitution and it's part of the culture and nobody cares… But a foreigner that does half that goes to jail. BTW the Japanese legal system is a joke, it's basically rigged for political reasons.

  5. Japan has one of the worst justice system. Your guilty until proven innocent. And if you don’t admit guilt, they just lock you up until you admit guilt out of boredom.

  6. 🇯🇵🇯🇵2020 Japan Olympics🇯🇵🇯🇵
    あしたをつかもう.
    Discover Tomorrow.

    2020 Summer Olympics will begin on
    Friday, 24 July and ends
    on Sunday, 9 August.

  7. Foolishness. This man have save them from going bankruptcy. Recover from more than 35 billions in debt and grow to be the second biggest car manufacturer in japan. Shame on them. They should be happy they was not in a more serious situation like a Bernie Maddof that rip off with a ponzi scheme more than 65 billions dollars from other inventors.

  8. Laying off people from work, use cheap parts for cars. Lose reliability for a car which is crucial for such product and people don't buy it anymore. And look what happened to the motherfucker? Nissan lost more than before.

  9. 1usd=109.9¥ therefore 5million$ is around half a billion yen(549.5 million yen)to be exact and that my friends is why it's such a high profile case because a lot of money in Japan

  10. This is clearly a witch hunt!!! He saves the companies, saves econmies and jobs, produces millions, wel. Thank you capitalism you created them them take them down!!

  11. Just for fun… Remember when Japan treated him like a living God after he saved the company, launched the Nissan GTR program, made Nissan successful in Racing at home and worldwide? People hated him from the start at Nissan because employees were promoted for their seniority not talent or dedication. Employees with good ideas were not encouraged to share them, in meetings, seniors employees just talked when asked a question and just said yes or sorry. When someone had a good idea… If he had a boss who listens, the boss would be the only one to get credit and the employee would never be seen as someone worth keeping or promoting.

  12. Can't ignore the fact that Nissan and Mitsubishi, once revered automakers, suffered a massive drop in quality after the Renault merger.

  13. This is why crime rates in Japan is relatively low compared with other nations. Otherwise, we will have to spend most of my life in prison.

  14. This video was not being fair to Ghosn. CNBC should have shown facts why he was denying the allegations. You are just presenting the unfair allegations.

  15. After every thing he done to save this companys company's lovely they got something else up their sleeves Japanese government so its political nothing they did that to Carlos gohson they have some one else waiting on line to take over but sadly after Carlos left they r in deep shit and they cant go back on it they did some damage to him and his family. Well done Carlos you saved u self and you family not only from Japanese low but frome there filthy d izzyzzzzz l and bacteria bless you Carlos gohson 😆🇱🇧

  16. The JAPANESE Red Army (日本赤軍, Nihon Sekigun, abbreviated JRA) was a communist militant group founded by Fusako Shigenobu early in 1971. The JRA's stated goals were to OVERTHROW the JAPANESE GOVERNMENT and the MONARCHY, as well as to start a World revolution. The group was also known as the Anti-Imperialist International Brigade (AIIB), the Holy War Brigade, and the Anti-War Democratic Front. The Japanese red army attempts to support a worldwide Marxist Leninist revolution

  17. Death Penalty Total Embarrassment for Japan!
    It's A Crime that the Government continues to carry out Executions! These executions demonstrate
    the JAPANESE Government’s SHOCKING DISREGARD for HUMAN LIFE!!!!!!!! While the rest of the world
    increasingly turns its back on the Death penalty, Japan continue with this Barbaric irreversible Punishment!!!
    Japan continues to execute Foreigners and People with Mental, Psycho-social or Intellectual disabilities
    Executions in Japan are shrouded in secrecy with some prisoners typically given only a few hours’ notice,
    but most are not given any warning at all!!! Their families are Not notified about the execution Not even
    only after it has taken place!!!!!!!! Currently 110 Individuals remain on DEATH ROW in JAPAN!
    Foreign workers are subjected to Human rights abuses

  18. JAPAN HAS THE HIGHEST SUICIDE RATE IN THE WORLD
    JAPAN IS WILLINGLY LOCKING UP MANY INNOCENT MEN and WOMEN TO A DEGREE
    THAT WOULD SHOCK ANY OTHER NATION, EVEN SAVAGE DICTATORSHIPS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  19. If he must be prosecuted then you must insist that Netanyahu and kushner and trump be also prosecuted and brought to justice.

  20. What the hell is she calling him? At least learn how to spell his name correctly before coming up with this fake ass video. (His name is Carlos Ghoson, you spell the damn S!)

  21. no one will welcome and defend you other than your people and your mother country when it comes to a situation like this.
    In reality, however, politics often overshadows and abolish justice, and this is what happens in this case, my view of Japan has really changed.

  22. I used to deliver the newspaper to the Green Beret that helped him escape, that guy's life is also pretty interesting.

  23. Carlos outsmarted the Japanese CEOs and now he is on their crosshairs. He outsmarted Japanese CEOs that is unheard of. This man is a genius. Let him have his parties! He saved the car companies. It’s the least they can do.

  24. As a US consumer, I will NEVER buy another car from Nissan again. Their treatment of Ghosn is abhorrent and after all the good he did for them. They just wanted to put a Japanese person back in charge at any cost and tried to destroy his family and France's legitimate interests in Nissan. If you have proof of his misconduct, then prove it in an unbiased forum.

  25. Yeah selling my Nissan and will consume American car. Cannot support a country in which the conviction rate is 99.4%. Sorry

  26. “Improper and excessive spending” LOL. It’s HIS money, if he wanted he could just throw it outside the window. You have to talk about the money he inappropriately take to his pocket, company’s money, not about him making “lavish” parties. He was well paid he could afford that party, that’s not the case, you have to “attack it” where it makes sense… at his supposed theft. Media nowadays is this socialist BS, they just use adjectives, not facts. Words like “lavish, excessive”… it’s up to you, you’re saying that. Let’s fight corruption, bribes, robberies… not lavish parties. Some Americans are not prepared to live in such a amazing country, with an amazing culture and which puts value in entrepreneurship.

  27. The French government owns part of Renault, and according to the pundits, newly elected French President Marcon pushed Ghosn to increase Renault's share in Nissan, and / or merge the companies. Ghosn pointed to Japanese Nationalistic sensibilities and advised against it, but was overruled. This might have been the real reason for Nissans palace coup and Ghosn's arrest.
    After the world financial meltdown in 2008 and following big business bail out, the Obama white house had wanted Ghosn to lead General Motors as CEO, the following year, something similar came from Ford. Not wanting to leave the Nissan job unfinished, he declined.
    As CEO of either US company, his compensation would have been in line with other large US corporations, and several times of what his Renault/Nissan/Mitsubishi salary including the supposedly illegal payments added up to.
    Ghosn got Nissan out of a $34 billion debt. None of the alliance companies have paid the severance packages they had originally agreed to. Imo, he deserved every penny

  28. CEO japanese style is equal as salary worker. Western and, especially US CEO is like a tyrant coming to your town, kill and loot ….

  29. Lebanon born in Brazil French citizenships live in Japan and his wife Americans citizenships…WTF…both of them have 4-5 different citizenships…that’s tell you right there they don’t even know who they are and where are they coming from therefore they’re a biggest con man in the history…just look at his face and his name

  30. (Citation from Japan's Justice Ministry)
    http://www.moj.go.jp/EN/hisho/kouhou/20200120enQandA.html
    Q. The conviction rate in Japan is higher than 99%. Why is the conviction rate in Japan so high?
    A. In Japan, it is the prosecutors who decide whether or not to bring an indictment. According to the most recent statistics, the indictment rate is 37% (a figure obtained by dividing the number of indicted persons by the total number of indicted persons and non-indicted persons in all suspected criminal cases). The “conviction rate of more than 99%” represents the proportion of convicted persons divided by the number of indicted persons, i.e. those within the 37% rate mentioned above.

    In order to avoid imposing an undue burden on innocent people for being involved in a trial, prosecutors, in practice, bring indictments only if there is a high probability of obtaining a conviction based on adequate evidence.

    It is therefore fair to assume that the high conviction rate is a reflection of such practices.

  31. A friend at work told me about this story so I said let me check it out, and frankly, I'm on his side. If indeed he inappropriately misused a few thousand dollars, just let him pay restitution and move on. I believe its the fact that a foreigner came in and saved one of their auto makers rubs people the wrong way so now they want to disgrace him in a public way after he saved the company.

  32. But now shareholders were unsatisfied with new ceo. They got angry. Just matter of time of biggest bankcrupty unless they turnaround was succes.

    But what ever happened on there, try to fix the unreliable cars. Not more than that.

  33. he just take only one ex green beret ; to make
    a security system for country named Japan out of service.most high tech countries. Ghosen HQ is more that's fix firmes but also fix his critical situation and escape…..lol

  34. Carlos Ghosn led Renault and Nissan survived through 2000 Dot Com Bubble, 2003 SARs and 2008 GFC. Now must see how they go in 2020 Coronavirus crisis without Carlos Ghosn.

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