January 31, 2017 2:30 am JST
My Personal History

Carlos Ghosn (30) A glimpse of the future

Ghosn on his plans for life after Nissan and why the alliance will outlast him

Carlos Ghosn at his office at Nissan Motor headquarters in Yokohama

I get a lot of questions about my plans after Nissan Motor -- and if I believe the alliance will outlast me. The answer to that second question is yes, without hesitation.

In the old days, before the Renault-Nissan Alliance was formed, no one in the auto industry could have imagined a partnership like this. Back then, the only ways two companies came together were by outright mergers or acquisitions. The alliance was a unique system, one that we invented and perfected through 18 years.

Over the years, we have proved that our approach is an effective one with benefits for all companies. We have shown that multiple companies can maintain their respective identities while cooperating in such areas as purchasing and tech development and leveraging their combined larger scale. The alliance devised an effective way for all its different companies to grow in an increasingly competitive industry.

But, of course, no one can predict the future. There is a chance that one day the management of Nissan, Renault, and the alliance will be separate. The fact that today I oversee all three entities is because that is what has worked best so far, but it is not the way it must be forever. The future will be decided by the board of directors for each company.

What kind of person will lead Nissan next? I will leave the specific person up to the board, but I will make a suggestion as to what qualities the right candidate should possess: It should be a person who can respond effectively to change and who can sustain growth, and it should be someone who understands the Nissan Way and is dedicated to its future.

And what will I do next? When the time comes, I have considered various pursuits, but life has a way of following its own unplanned path. I hope I will be spending a great deal of time with my children and grandchildren. Perhaps I will teach or do something of a similar intellectual nature. I am also interested in using the lessons from my long business career to support other business, institutions and organizations. Many have asked over the years, but I have not had the time. For me, the source of vitality is to keep learning.

I won't settle in one place; I will travel all over the world. I cannot conceive of spending all my time in just one country. I am most at home on the move. I continue to believe in globalization and will continue to communicate its merits.

Wherever the future takes me, I know I will return to Japan often, and think of it even more. This incredible country has shaped who I am; it is part of my identity. What I have learned cannot be quantified.

I would like to close by saying thank you to Japan. Eighteen years have passed since I came to this country, and I can never fully repay the debt of gratitude I owe for the way it welcomed me and the kindness it has shown to me. I am forever changed by the people I've met here and the company I have been entrusted to lead. Thank you for this opportunity to share my history with you.

Carlos Ghosn is chairman and CEO of Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.

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