The amount of talent that Lebanon has exported to the rest of the world is probably worth more than all the petroleum exports for which this region is famous. Carlos Ghosn, born in Brazil in 1954, and educated in France, has already established himself as one of Lebanon's most successful and influential offspring of all time. His extraordinary business career has been built around the automotive industry. In 1978 he joined the Michelin Corporation and in 1989 became chief operating officer of Michelin North America. He engineered the merger with Uniroyal-Goodrich, and in 1990 became the CEO of Michelin North America, a position he occupied until 1996.
In 1996 Carlos Ghosn joined Renault SA, becoming executive vice president in charge of management, and in 1999, after Renault took a 38 percent stake in Nissan, he moved to Nissan and to Japan, becoming in 2001, president and CEO of the firm. In three years he brought Nissan out of the red, engineering in one year a $6.4 billion positive swing in the firm?s net profits.
Carlos Ghosn is a skilled manager and entrepreneur who knows productivity and how to increase it. He has adapted his methods to different milieux the United States, France, Latin America, Japan and has thrived in them all. Few if any executives could display the record of achievement Carlos Ghosn compiled between 1989 and the present. No wonder then that he was proclaimed by Time Magazine and CNN in 2001 as the most influential global business executive as well as Automobile Magazine's Man of the Year. It is gratifying to realize that Carlos Ghosn's best years lie ahead.
Mr. Ghosn, I want to note that in 1998 when I became president here the presidential car was an aging Cadillac. In that year I replaced it with a Nissan Maxima.