Ghosn has blueprint, but too busy to lead Lebanon

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Carlos Ghosn, the French-Lebanese chief of Nissan-Renault, shrugged off any chance of vying for Lebanon’s presidency yesterday, saying that he had “too many jobs already”.

The 60-year-old, credited with saving a near-bankrupt Nissan last decade, was born to Lebanese parents in Brazil and spent most of his childhood in Lebanon.

“I’ve been accused of accumulating too many jobs already. I don’t think this is part of the probabilities,” he replied to a question about a political run, after delivering a speech at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan. “I have a job to do as head of two large companies.”

Speculation over a political career was fuelled by reports last year quoting Ghosn as saying he would rely on the same techniques for running Lebanon that he used to turn around Nissan.

The Lebanese parliament is divided between two main camps. One bloc favouring the Syrian regime is led by Hezbollah and backed by Damascus and Tehran while the second is led by assassinated former prime minister Rafic Hariri’s son and backed by Washington and Saudi Arabia. The sides are divided over the Syrian war and the question of Hezbollah’s weapons, and cannot agree on a presidential candidate.

Ghosn took over at Nissan in 1999 after Renault took a controlling interest in the Japanese car maker that was on the brink of bankruptcy. Nicknamed “le cost killer”, he instituted aggressive expense-cutting plans to rescue the firm. His unlikely bid made him something of a folk hero in Japan, where is he one of only a few foreigners to lead a major firm. – Sapa-AFP


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