Carlos Ghosn was born in Brazil of Lebanese parents. When he was very young, he moved back to Lebanon with his mother and siblings and did his early education there. After graduating at 17, he applied to schools in France and did his higher education there. His speaks many languages, French being the one he is most comfortable in and English being his language of business. At 24 was hired by Michelin and asked to go to Brazil and work there. He was happy to do so since his mother and 2 of his sisters still lived there. He later moved to the U.S. to run Michelin's North American operations. He was involved in the merger between Michelin and Uniroyal-Goodrich. Realizing that Michelin was a family run busines and that he could never become the #1 man, he left after 18 years and joined Renault in an upper management position.
Renault, became after World War II, a government owned company. The French Government took the business away from its founder, as punishment because of his involvement with the Nazis. When Calos Ghosn joined Renault, it was still 80% publically owned. Part of his new responsibilities was to increase its privatization. In Renault, the managers were more interested in keeping peace between the employees and management then running their divisions. They also had the silos mentally and the bosses did not discuss how to do things better with their employees. They decided and the people under them, did. This lead to employees complaining between themselves and affecting morale and productivity. One of the first thing he did was establish cross functional team between departments. He also cut costs at Renault and closed a manufacturing facility that cost 3200 jobs and earned him the nickname of "the cost killer".
Analysts at the time, estimated that car companies had to produce at least 4 million cars at the time or they would not survive. Renault was far from producing this amount and so decided they had to look at possible mergers. Nissan was in financial troubles and had to look at possible bankruptcy or find a savior. Renault was their least favorite choice but in the end they merged and ended up being an ideal pair. Carlos Ghosn with his multiculturism was great at merging the 2 companies and the 2 cultures. He did a lot of cost cutting at Nissan and restructuring. Took the best of both companies and eliminated redundancies. Turned Nissan around to become one of the most profitable car companies in the world.
It is a very interesting book to read for people interested in car companies as well as from a business point of view.
I highly recommend it.