Ghosn’s moment of truth arrives as deposed CEO prepares to face press
After more than a year away from the cameras and microphones, Carlos Ghosn is set to face the media again, this time not as a legendary auto executive, but as the world’s most famous fugitive.
While reams have been written about the former chief executive officer of Nissan Motor Co. and Renault SA since his arrest in Tokyo in November 2018, he hasn’t spoken publicly beyond a handful of interviews, a hastily recorded video message and court testimony.
Come Wednesday, that will change, with Ghosn set to hold a tell-all news conference in Beirut, the city he fled to after his shock escape by private plane from Japan just over a week ago. The former CEO has already hinted he’ll identify those he considers responsible for his downfall, including government officials.
There’s still much to learn. What does he really think of his protege and successor Hiroto Saikawa, who denounced Ghosn on the night of his arrest, and has himself since been forced out of the automaker under a dark cloud. Who are the figures in the Japanese government Ghosn has threatened to identify, and how were they involved? And how exactly did Ghosn pull off his daring private-jet escape?
From day one, Ghosn has blamed his downfall on as-yet unidentified Nissan executives. In his first interview from jail after his arrest, Ghosn pointed the finger at a group of senior managers, whom he said were involved in a plot against him to stave off a merger with Renault, although he didn’t divulge their names.
This is where things could get interesting. Among those that Ghosn plans to identify in the “coup” to take him out include some people in the Japanese government, according to Fox Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo, who said she spoke with Ghosn last weekend.
How high might this go? Those who could be waiting to hear their names checked may include Hiroshige Seko, the industry minister at the time of Ghosn’s arrest, as well as Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga. The two figures would have been core to any talks around a Nissan and Renault merger.