Carlos Ghosn's powers of persuasion are very hard to resist, Nissan Brazil's current boss learned on Dec. 26. 2011.
Francois Dossa remembers the exact day of the meeting because it changed his life, he told me during an interview in Rio de Janeiro last week.
Ghosn, who is CEO of Nissan and alliance partner, was in Brazil to visit his mother during the holidays. While in town he asked Dossa to come see him on the day after Christmas.
At the time, Dossa was CEO of Latin American and Brazilian operations at powerful French multinational bank Societe Generale's offices in Sao Paulo. He was not looking for a new job or a new career after spending 24 years in the banking industry. He figured the two would discuss future possibilities related to the Brazil-France Chamber of Commerce. Dossa was president of the organization at the time and he frequently set up events that were headlined by Ghosn when he was in Brazil.
Within 30 minutes, however, Ghosn had convinced Dossa to make the change.
His first posting was as general director of finance and administration at Nissan Brazil. He started that job in April 2012. By November of that year he was appointed president of the operation, officially taking over the role on Jan. 1, 2013.
Dossa said there was one key reason Ghosn picked him. "He hired me to build the plant," he said, referring to the new 2.6 billion real manufacturing plant in Resende, Rio de Janeiro, that officially opened in April 2014.
Ghosn wanted someone who knew how to deal with Brazil's bureaucracy. “We made the plant operational in 21 months, which is an absolute record in this country,” Dossa said.
"I was not ready for that," Dossa said with a wide smile while recounting the experience.