Ghosn: ‘No hesitation' in declining GM CEO offer
government to lead General Motors Co.
“Renault and Nissan were in the middle of the worst crisis in the auto industry,” Ghosn, 56, said in a statement today.
“To leave at that point would have been both disruptive and disloyal to both companies.” He said that “it was a gracious offer, but I had no hesitation to decline.”
Ghosn confirmed the offer that came in 2009 from Steven Rattner, who then was head of President Obama's task force managing the reorganization of GM and Chrysler Group LLC.
Ghosn also said that he still sees potential benefits for his companies from an alliance with GM or another large automaker.
Tom Wilkinson, a GM spokesman, declined to comment, and also said the company wouldn't discuss a forthcoming book by Rattner to be published on his experience leading the U.S. Treasury Department's auto task force.
Alliances such as the one formed in 1999 between Nissan and Renault are preferable to mergers, Ghosn said. He discussed such an option with GM in 2006 that former GM Chief Executive Officer Rick Wagoner rebuffed.
“The potential was clear and compelling for the alliance and, I still believe, for GM,” Ghosn said in the statement.
“When Steve Rattner and I met last year amid the turmoil at GM, I felt it was a natural time to raise the subject again.”
Potential synergies Nissan-Renault indentified from such an arrangement were “colossal,” Ghosn said today in an interview with CNN. Rattner “would not see this happening,” Ghosn said.
“I don't think anything like this can work unless there is a mutual appetite,” Ghosn said.
Ghosn also told CNN that reports he'd been approached to lead India's Tata Motors Ltd. were untrue.