Carlos Gon, former CEO of Nissan, at a press conference on the second day of the press at the Paris International Motor Show.
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SINGAPORE – Carlos Gon, a former CEO and chairman of Nissan who escaped from court in Japan, has launched a business training program to help economic recovery in his crisis-stricken homeland of Lebanon.
The Franco-Lebanese automotive director revealed on Tuesday his plans to train business leaders, provide technical training and create start-ups as part of a new link with Saint-Esprit de Kaslik University (USEK), a private university north of Beirut.
The announcement comes less than two months after a devastating explosion rocked the capital and complicated the economic problems of a country plagued by decades of corruption and political mismanagement.
Gon, who himself faces allegations of financial irregularities after dramatically fleeing Tokyo to Beirut in December 201
“It’s about creating jobs, employment and entrepreneurs to allow society to take on the role of rebuilding the country,” he told a news conference announcing the program.
Until his arrest in November 2018, Ghosn was widely known for reversing the fate of Japanese carmaker Nissan. A Brazilian-born businessman who grew up in Beirut, he was a rising figure in the automotive industry and held key management positions at Renault, Mitsubishi Motors and Michelin North America.
The partnership with USEK, for which the university turned to Gon soon after his return to Lebanon at the end of last year, is called “Moving Forward”. It will focus on helping troubled companies and training people to “become invaluable”.
His oversight role will be joined by international managers such as Jaguar and Land Rover CEO Thierry Bolor and former Goldman Sachs vice president Ken Curtis, who have agreed to hold pro bono courses.
“The role model is my experience, what I think are the basic needs of a CEO in a very competitive environment,” Gon said.
The first of the courses, due to begin in March, will be available to 15 to 20 senior executives in Lebanon and the Middle East.
The second program focuses on providing technical training, including in areas such as computer-aided design and artificial intelligence, while the third will act as an incubator for start-ups, with a special focus on environmental impact.
“If you restore trust, the money will come,” Gon said. “You can have a great plan for Lebanon, but if you don’t, you’re not even at the starting point.”