Shift: Inside Nissan's Historic Revival

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A Book Critique of:

"SHIFT: Inside Nissan's Historic Revival"
by Carlos Ghosn

When Brazilian-born, French-educated son of Lebanese parents, Carlos Ghosn was named COO of Nissan in 1999, the company was heading towards bankruptcy with a record loss of more than $6 billion in fiscal year 1999. In Shift, Carlos Ghosn recounts how he achieved one of the most astounding turnarounds in automotive – and corporate – history.

Ghosn's Nissan Revival Plan (NRP) outlined seemingly impossible goals (1) return Nissan to financial stability within 12 months;(2) reduce debt by 50% within 3 years; (3) increase operating margins to 4.5% of sales in 3 years. Within eighteen months, Ghosn and his executive committee successfully brought Nissan into the black and transformed the company back to the powerful global automotive manufacturer it once used to be.

Carlos Ghosn gained his management principles and practices while rising through the ranks at Michelin and Renault. Francois Michelin's openness to giving young executives great responsibility, his indifference to their origins, and the attention he paid to facts rather than theories left an indelible impression on the young and ambitious Ghosn. Starting as a shift-team leader at Michelin's newest plant in Europe, Ghosn quickly moved through the ranks as general manager of that factory at age 27; put in charge of turning around Michelin's Brazilian operations as age 31; and becoming the CEO of Michelin North America at age 42.

Ghosn's attention to detail and ability to execute complex cost-cutting plans soon earned him a reputation of "le cost killer". This reputation carried him through Renault's 20 billion cost reduction plan.

Main ideas presented in the book:

•Leading change is never easy. It takes a dedicated leader with the right combination of skills, surrounded by a committed execution team to pull off change in the magnitude of Nissan's historic revival. •Ghosn's notion of management...
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