Meet Carlos Ghosn, the disgraced former chairman of Nissan

Nissan has struggled since the arrest of its former chairman, Carlos Ghosn, on charges of financial misconduct.
AP Photo/Francois Mori

Carlos Ghosn, 64, amassed a $120 million net worth while he was the head ranking official at the Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi Motors automotive alliance over the past two decades.The former CEO was accused of misreporting his salary and compensation in November 2018. Nissan and Ghosn settled the case with the SEC by agreeing to pay a $15 million fine, The New York Times reported on September 24.Ghosn reportedly fled Japan for Lebanon on December 30 by hiding in a box meant for musical instruments on a private jet, violating the terms of his bail agreement.Nissan is now struggling. The automaker’s first-quarter profits are down 98.5% from last year and it will cut at least 12,500 jobs by March 2023, The Times reported on July 25.Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.Carlos Ghosn has fled prosecution in Japan, storing himself away in a box designed for musical instruments on a private jet on December 30, according to media reports.Ghosn said in a statement that he would “no longer be held hostage by a rigged Japanese justice system where guilt is presumed, discrimination is rampant, and basic human rights are denied.”The former Nissan CEO was awaiting trial in Japan on financial-misconduct charges and had been forbidden from leaving the company as a part of $13 million bail agreement. Prosecutors in Japan have alleged that Ghosn earned a salary of about 10 billion yen, or $88.7 million, from 2011 to 2015 but reported only half of that. Ghosn, who is 64, could face up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to 10 million yen if found to have committed wrongdoing.For a long time, Ghosn was known as the man to usher in a new era of profitability and relevance to the automakers he helmed. Yet, to Japanese persecutors, he hid his earnings from regulators for years and used company funds to further decorate his lavish lifestyle.Keep reading to learn more about the rise and downfall of Carlos Ghosn.

Ghosn started at Nissan in 1999, when “The Alliance” was formed — where Renault and Nissan each had a stake in the other. In 2016, Mitsubishi joined. The three act as separate entities, while also identifying as a global grouping.

Antonio RIBEIRO/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

Source: BBC

Ghosn was known for his cost-cutting methods — closing factories and cutting jobs while increasing profits and output. Nissan quickly surpassed Honda as the No. 2 automaker in Japan under Ghosn’s leadership …


Source: BBC, The New York Times

Ghosn flew around the world using a series of Nissan-owned Gulfstream private jets, including a G650, which can seat up to 19 passengers, sleep up to 10, fly more than 8,000 miles, and can cost more than $67 million.

A Gulfstream G550 similar to the aircraft used by Nissan.

Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

As chairman of Renault, Nissan, and Mitsubishi — three car companies on two continents halfway around the world from one another — Ghosn spent a considerable amount of time flying on Nissan’s corporate jets between France and Japan. He also had frequent stopovers in the United States, Brazil, and Lebanon.Source: Business Insider

According to a report from Bloomberg, Nissan paid over 8,000 euros a month for an Amsterdam apartment that was used exclusively by Ghosn.


Source: Bloomberg

In Tokyo, Nissan paid nearly $9,000 a month for Ghosn and family to live in a flat for only “few days each month on average.” But then, all of a sudden, Ghosn’s world came crashing down.

An apartment building where Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn is believed to have a residence.

Nissan would soon begin seizing keys and blocking access from six of its properties frequented by Ghosn and his family. Source: Bloomberg

On November 19, prosecutors surrounded Ghosn’s Gulfstream after it touched down in Japan. Prosecutors alleged that Ghosn hid his earnings from Nissan filings for years.

A Gulfstream G550 similar to the aircraft used by Nissan for Ghosn. Ghosn’s jet not pictured.
Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

Source: The New York Times

On November 19, 2018, Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa confirmed the arrest of Ghosn after a months-long investigation into alleged financial crimes, like underreporting compensation to regulators. The Nissan board voted just two days later to remove Ghosn from his position as chairman.

REUTERS/Issei Kato

Source: Bloomberg

A week after Ghosn’s arrest, Mitsubishi Motors Corp. Chairman and CEO Osamu Masuko announced the company would be ousting Ghosn from his role, too.

Osamu Masuko holds a press conference after a board meeting at the Mitsubishi Motor headquarters in Tokyo.

Source: Bloomberg

Ghosn was reportedly kept in the same facility that previously housed death-row inmates and given limited access to the outside world. Reports indicate that he was allowed to bathe twice a week and had 30 minutes a day of exercise.

A general view of the Tokyo detention house where Ghosn was held

Source: Bloomberg

In a January court hearing, Ghosn denied any wrongdoing on his behalf, and said he was “wrongly accused and unfairly detained based on meritless and unsubstantiated accusations.” The next day his detention appeal was denied.

A court sketch shows Ghosn making a statement during the open hearing at the Tokyo District Court on January 8, 2019.
Photo by Kyodo News via Getty Images

Source: Bloomberg

On January 23, Ghosn resigned as chairman and chief executive officer of Renault, French finance minister Bruno Le Maire told Bloomberg Television in an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos.


Source: Reuters, Bloomberg

Bloomberg reported in February that Ghosn may have used Renault funds inappropriately to “pay for his wedding party at the Chateau de Versailles” — marking the first indecency reported by the company toward its former head executive.

Carlos and wife Carole Ghosn
Dominique Charriau/WireImage

Source: Town and Country Magazine, Bloomberg

At the end of February, Ghosn hired lawyer Junichiro Hironaka, who said Ghosn’s arrest was a result of a conspiracy inside Nissan. Hironaka said he believes Ghosn is innocent.


“The prosecutors have made a criminal case out of an issue that should have been handled inside the company,” said Hironaka at a press conference. Source: The Wall Street Journal

In March, Ghosn, wearing blue workman’s clothes and a baseball cap, was released after 108 days in a Japanese jail and after paying a nearly $9 million bail.


Source: Business Insider

According to The Wall Street Journal, Ghosn went to a court-approved residence in Tokyo. A trial was said to be happening later in 2018.

Associated Press

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Ghosn was rearrested on April 4 on new charges and then released on a $4.5 million bail later that month.

In this April 3, 2019, file photo, former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn, center, returns to his residence in Tokyo. Japanese court approves release for detained Nissan ex-chair Ghosn on 500 million yen, or $4.5 million, bail.
Associated Press

Source: Business Insider

Nissan is now struggling. The automaker’s first-quarter profits were down 98.5% from last year, and it announced that it will cut at least 12,500 jobs. That’s about 9% of its total workforce.

A line worker checks frames for imperfections at Nissan Motor Co’s automobile manufacturing plant in Smyrna, Tennessee. Affected workers not pictured.

Source: The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal.

Ghosn and Nissan settled their case with the SEC on September 24. The company will pay a $15 million fine, and Ghosn himself will pay $1 million, the Times reported.

A general exterior view of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) building in Washington, June 24, 2011.
REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo

Source: The New York Times

Hari Nada, the Nissan senior vice president who reported Ghosn and is set to testify against Ghosn in a Japanese trial, was found to have also improperly overpaid himself during an investigation by an outside law firm on October 7.

FILE PHOTO: The logos of car manufacturers Renault and Nissan are seen in front of dealerships of the companies in Reims

Source: Bloomberg


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Carlos Ghosn

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