January 19, 2007 / 12:51 AM / 12 years ago

Car maker turnaround king Ghosn now a knight

Carlos Ghosn, celebrity chief executive of both Nissan Motor Co. and Renault, has been appointed an honorary knight commander of the British empire -- an award given to individuals recognised as making significant and inspiring contributions in any field. Ghosn is pictured here in a file photo. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook

TOKYO (Reuters) - He couldn’t be a white knight for General Motors, but now he can be a real one for the Queen.

Carlos Ghosn, celebrity chief executive of both Nissan Motor Co. and Renault, has been appointed an honorary knight commander of the British empire — an award given to individuals recognised as making significant and inspiring contributions in any field.

“I am deeply honoured by this recognition from the United Kingdom,” Ghosn, whose discussions for a possible three-way alliance with General Motors Corp. collapsed this month, was quoted as saying in a statement released by Nissan.

“This honour is dedicated to the hard work and achievements of our 5,500 employees and 220 dealers that support the Nissan business in the United Kingdom,” he said.

The Brazilian-born Frenchman of Lebanese descent cannot use the title “Sir” — an honour only subjects of the queen enjoy — but can call himself Carlos Ghosn, KBE.

Ghosn is known as the auto industry’s turnaround king, having rescued Japan’s Nissan Motor from the brink of bankruptcy in 1999 and turning it into one of the world’s most profitable car makers.

Past recipients of the title in the business world include Microsoft Corp. founder Bill Gates and Sony Corp. co-founder Akio Morita.

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