The New"Thirty-Six Strategems" for Ghosn’s Arrest
Ghosn’s arrest undoubtedly hit the headline of the global automotive industry in the year of 2018. Seemingly the fighting between Hiroto Saikawa and Carlos Ghosn, it was actually a mass brawl among three companies and two governments. Over the past three months, in this "battlefield without smoke of gunpowder", the parties involved had frequently resorted to skilled tactics, deducing a new edition of "Thirty-six Strategems", which was jointly participated by the "elites" of the East and the West. Economic Daily - China Economic Net particularly launched a series of reports to analyze and interpret Ghosn's arrest.
If the "Wandering Earth" leads the Chinese New Year box office of major theaters across the country, then the arrest of Ghosn, the grand drama of the automobile field, may also be the focus of viewers for this year. Carlos Ghosn, 64, the “magic kid” who brought Nissan back to life 20 years ago, could have never thought he would be brought to court by the company he had saved. Even more frustrating is that shortly after Ghosn’s arrest, Renault and the French government, once supported him, had kicked him out.
Being accused of aggravated breach of trust and filing false statements to regulators regarding $80 million in deferred income looms, Ghosn was arrested by Japanese prosecutors on November 19, 2018. Subsequently, the prosecutors searched his offices at Nissan headquarters and other locations.
According to Ghosn's recent expression, he described his trip to Japan as a routine for Nissan board meeting. However, he was arrested as soon as he got off the plane. For the unexpected arrest, Ghosn thought it was a well-designed trap for some people to "get rid of him".
Coincidentally, it had been reported by foreign media that Ghosn planned to replace Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa at the board meeting. In addition, prior to his sensational arrest, Ghosn was reportedly working on a merger between Renault and Nissan, which could be completed by the Spring of 2019.
However, before the plan was implemented, it was exposed by the mysterious "insider" thoroughly, which reminds us of the thirteenth plan of the Thirty-Six Strategems in ancient China—beating the grass and frightening away the snake.
After Ghosn's arrest, Nissan did not plead for its President. Instead, it even fully and actively cooperated with prosecutors. Not only did Nissan allow several foreign executives to "take vacations" to assist in the investigation, but also issued statements multiple times, taking up a position on full co-operation with the prosecutors. In this case, could it be a dragnet set up by Nissan, only willing to “murdering a person with borrowed knife”and seizing power from Ghosn?
From receiving "internal whistleblowing" to conducting months-long "internal investigations"; from reporting to the Japanese prosecutors, to quickly dismissing Ghosn, and finally using the media to accuse Ghosn, a script of "interlocked stratagems" seemed to have been prepared, waiting for Ghosn to calmly hit the road.
Another key figure in Ghosn's arrest was Nissan’s CEO Hiroto Saikawa. Throughout the case, Hiroto Saikawa was quite active. He used all means to show the "crisis public relations" that a Nissan CEO did to save the alliance. “The cicada cast off its skin”, however it failed to come out completely unscathed. What the intention of Hiroto Saikawa and Nissan doing this is really worth pondering.
As the charges mounted, Ghosn's detention was extended twice. When Japanese prosecutor refused Ghosn’s bail request for the second time, the French government took a U-turn. On January 16, French Finance Minister Bruno le maire said that the government had asked Renault to convene a board meeting as soon as possible to discuss the replacement of Carlos Ghosn, the President and CEO of Renault.
Retreat is the best. Whether the French government, or the government-controlled Renault, it resolutely chose to abandon Ghosn when seeing no hope for his bail.
2018 was destined to be an extraordinary year.As the world's largest automobile alliance, Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance staged a seemingly unexpected but long-planned major personnel change at the end of the year—the arrest of Ghosn. The subsequent changes not only continue to this day, but also will affect the future of many enterprises or even the entire automobile industry.（文并译：经济日报-中国经济网记者 张懿）