Remaking Nissan

A long, hard day with Carlos Ghosn, the foreigner remaking Japan's giant

It's 5:30 p.m. on a dreary day, and Carlos Ghosn is squirming in his seat. Two managers are briefing Nissan Motor Co.'s new foreign chief operating officer in his office on the 15th floor of Nissan's headquarters in Tokyo. The topic is middle management's plans to implement Ghosn's drastic makeover of Nissan. They express their colleagues' concerns carefully in English, Nissan's new official language. Some managers believe Ghosn's plan is "very difficult to accomplish." Others find it "complicated." Muted objections. But in the polite world of Japanese business protocol, these guarded words express deep anxiety.

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