I was thinking, at that time, that first — I had probably a 50 percent chance of being successful and 50 percent chance of not being successful — and if I was not successful, well, that was it. It was the end of the career, because you could not expect, being in such a highly visible position, to come with an even average result and expect any interesting career after that. So I knew it from the beginning, but I took it, because I thought that if anybody has been prepared in his career to take this kind of challenge, it was me. Going through different countries, working in different continents, facing different challenges, different people, I’ve been through this. And coming to Japan as a foreigner, I was probably very well prepared — having faced different cultures and different countries — to approach Japanese culture with enough attention, curiosity and respect. At the same time, with enough focus on reviving Nissan to be able to pull it off. So I gave myself a 50 percent chance, but I was very excited.
On top of this, it was a tremendous learning experience. I was going to learn about Japan, about Asia. For the first time I was going to be really in charge of a company. So far, I had been a member of an executive committee, a member of a team. I was proposing, but not giving the final word, and this time it was. I was in charge and it was a different thing, and I liked Japan.
I liked Japan for very subjective ways or things. I liked the strong identity of Japan. I respect Japan for being a country with no resources, very small, not a very significant population, and still being the second largest economy in the world. The punctuality, the technology, the dedication, the loyalty, the simplicity, the modesty of the Japanese, all of this attracted me a lot. So I really found myself in a situation where I could make a difference, and you always want to put yourself in a situation — even a very tough situation — where you can contribute and make a difference, and this opportunity was given to me, so I didn’t want to miss it.