The global leader of the Nissan and Renault car companies will take a tour of the International Center for Automotive Research next week before delivering the keynote address at a fundraiser for the Greenville Tech Foundation.
Carlos Ghosn, chairman and chief executive officer of the Renault-Nissan Alliance, will meet with automotive engineering students as part of his visit to the Clemson University research campus.
His tour next Monday afternoon will be private, but the public is invited to hear Ghosn speak at the TD Convention CenterMonday night.
Information about ticket prices for the fundraiser is available at www.workforcedevelopmentsalute.org.
Ghosn lived in Greenville between 1989 and 1996 when he was chairman and chief executive officer of Greenville-based Michelin North America.
He hasn’t been back for any length of time in the intervening 20 years, according to Greenville resident Jim Morton, a former Michelin and Nissan executive who reported directly to Ghosn for seven years and who arranged his visit next week.
“I think he’s going to be surprised to see Greenville and to see ICAR,” Morton said.
Morton said Ghosn, who was born in Brazil to Lebanese parents, speaks five languages fluently and is “the brightest guy I’ve ever worked with.”
“I’ve had bosses that you couldn’t get a decision out of for whatever reason,” Morton said. “Mr. Ghosn, you meet with him, and you’re going to leave with a decision, a direction, whatever you’re looking for. If he has all the information he needs, you’re going to get a decision.”
“He’s very decisive, very self-confident, and a leader,” Morton said.
Fred Cartwright, ICAR’s executive director, said he hopes automotive engineering students who study at the campus can get a leg up on jobs at Nissan or Renault as a result of interacting with Ghosn.
“At the very least, he’ll know who we are,” Cartwright said. He called Ghosn an “an amazing multi-cultural icon in the automotive industry unlike any other.”
Jose Munoz, chairman of Nissan North America, is also scheduled to attend the fundraiser. Joe White, transportation editor for the Reuters news service, will interview Ghosn on stage.
It will be the second time this year that a major figure from the auto industry has visited ICAR and interacted with students.
Ratan Tata, the former leader of India’s Tata Motors, whose brands include Jaguar and Land Rover, visited ICAR in February.
Other distinguished visitors to ICAR over the years include Scott Atherton, president of the American LeMans racing series; Jeffrey Immelt, chief executive of General Electric Co.; the U.S. secretaries of commerce and energy, and the German and Indian ambassadors to the United States.
Bob Howard, president of the Greenville Tech Foundation, said Nissan North America publicized the Ghosn appearance on a Web site that’s part of its internal communications. As a result, interest in attending the gala has come not just from the Carolinas, but also Connecticut, Michigan, Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama, he said.