The elevation of Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn to CEO of Renault has rival French automaker PSA/Peugeot-Citroen looking for ways to bolster its international image.
Spin doctors at PSA, the world's No. 6 automaker, worry the company will look provincial in comparison with No. 10 Renault because of Ghosn, the most cosmopolitan of all auto CEOs. Brazilian born with Lebanese genes and a French education, plus defining work experiences in the US and Japan, Renault's new CEO is difficult to beat as a man of the world.
But being perceived as a country bumpkin doesn't always hurt in business, just ask Toyota. For years, Nissan executives based in Tokyo dismissed their Toyota counterparts in the comparatively small town of Nagoya as less cultured and less sophisticated. Despite Ghosn's revival efforts in Japan, Nissan was No. 8 globally last year while Toyota was No. 2 and closing in fast on No. 1 General Motors.