Saturday, March 22, 2008

Carlos Ghosn at Khazanah Global Lectures

Today, went to Khazanah Global Lectures Series for Carlos Ghosn's talk. Carlos is the President and CEO of Nissan Motor Co. Ltd and also President and CEO of Renault.

Carlos is famous for his turnaround of Nissan. When he took hold of Nissan, it had a debt of USD20 Billion and only 3 out of 48 models made money. Within a year, he turned around Nissan from a loss of USD6.1 Billion to USD2.7 Billion. That's an amazing feat.

Before Renault, Carlos was with Michelin for 18 years as well.

His personal background was that he was born in Porto Velho, Brazil in 1954. At age of 6, he moved to Beirut, Lebanon with his mother. He then went to Ecole Polytechnique in France to get his engineering degree and also from Ecole des Mines de Paris.

Dato' Azman Yahya, Founder and Group Chief Executive of Symphony House Berhad introduced Carlos Ghosn. Dato' Azlan Hashim, CEO from Proton did the welcoming address. This lecture is graced by Raja Nazrin and DPM Dato' Seri Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak.

Some of the sharings in the talk.

1. He has a strict work-life balance. When he is at home with family, he would shut off his mobile phone and would not turn on his laptop. He would not even read newspaper. (This is amazing, considering that he is a CEO of huge company!)

2. He lived through Brazil and Lebanon, which are very diversified country too, so he really appreciate the harmonious living of diverse races in Malaysia.

3. He talked about Malaysia has a pretty large car market, with 500,000 cars out of 65 Million cars sold a year. That's close of 0.8%. (A calculation by me is that Malaysia has about 0.45% of world population, 27 Million out of 6.+ Billion population).

4. He talked about Proton trying to go towards globalization and he understand that we need to have a National champion and he respect that. He mentioned of Tan Chong as its partner here and its constant effort to deliver satisfactorily and with high quality.

5. He really believes in power and strength of diversity.

6. He talks about challenge for talent are now fought at global level.

7. Strength of company is that the employees are motivated to contribute, and he mentioned that motivation is not something to be forced upon. It is something that is earned through respect. One of the ways are to listen to others, and also provide empowerment to others to contribute and make a difference.

8. He talked about tough decision, especially due to culture, eg: closing plant, reduce headcount, change habit or tradition etc. When he first went to Japan, many are skeptical of a foreigner who don't speak Japanese, could solve Nissan's problems.

9. Within first few weeks of his handling, Nissan's share dropped about 40%. He had to bite the bullet and focus on delivering. He talked on accepting diversity, accepting criticism and work on own conviction.

10. He talked about Small car manufacturers, like Proton and how it should marry its efficiency iwth technology and build deep knowledge.

11. Renault is the only car maker who has proven track record of alliance, with Nissan in Japan, Avtovaz in Russia (where Renault has 25% stake) and Dong Fang in Chang (where Renault has 50% stake).

12. He talked about synergy and respect identity of partner. Nissan, although with Renault as alliance, still maintains its HQ in Japan and led by mainly Japanese. It is like a wedding, where after the wedding, each of the guy and girl still maintains their own identity. He mentioned that the worst thing would be for the guy to buy over the girl and make her comply. If people feel that their identity are threathened, they will get defensive.

13. He talked on Environment, where in car industry, they have to be responsible. Cars produce 15% of total CO2. He talked about Nissan's Electric Car which would be launched in 2010 in US, and by 2012 around the world.

14. Current generation is the first generation that are involved with globalization, especially with internet.

15. He used an analogy of kid learning how to walk, to say that if we keep on hand holding, the kid would not know how to walk. This is to indirectly hint on the government protection of Proton.

16. He stressed on international outsourcing, especially when cost makes sense. And he talked about it would be a win-win situation, where the people do get technology transfer and learn, while the company gets to enjoy some extra profit.

17. It is natural to make mistakes. Just that there should be more good decisions than mistakes. One of the mistakes he made are indecisive.

18. 2 Pieces of Advice:-
a) Whatever you do, build some expertise.
b) Fight not to have preconceived perception.

I definitely think that this lecture is an eye-opener. I would like to congratulate and thank Khazanah Nasional Berhad for bringing in Kofi Annan, Muhammad Yunus, Joseph Stiglitz and also now Carlos Ghosn to share with fellow Malaysians.

Some of my feedback on this event:-
1. It should be less elitist. A lot more young professionals should be provided with opportunities to attend this event.
2. While I enjoy the dinner, I would think that a more cost effective way to do such lectures are to do away with the dinner.
3. I fully support Firdaus's idea of having a lecture every month, potentially sponsored by Khazanah Nasional Berhad.

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1 comment:

ern sheong said...

hey nice summary man =) thanks for sharing