Thursday, January 26, 2006

Tokyo CEOs

Tokyo business seems to be churning in many different ways. The Livedoor incident where the young entrepreneurial Internet CEO Horie-san was arrested and charged with financial irregularities has the public divided. On one hand, elder business people are glad that this young upstart who snubbed their ceremonial ways got his due. In contrast, many younger people are dismayed that this inspiring maverick has been proven to be as bad as the Enron bandits.

The entrepreneurial spirit that was kindled by Horie-san has been dampened for the time-being. Unfortunately there is no one to take his place. The Livedoor incident raises the problem of independent board members (not many in Japan), celebrity CEOs vs. credible CEOs (Horie-san was more the former than the latter) and building relationships with ALL stakeholders (the brash CEO seems to have ignored the regulators he needs now -- reminded me of Bill Gates and Microsoft a decade ago).

However, despite the recent bad news, business is indeed changing in Japan. More CEOs are accountable for losses and bad performance (NEC, Pioneer, Sanyo), CEOs are getting abit younger (from 60 years 10 years ago to 55 now), financial performance is trumping consenus management (Matsushita and Canon) and outsiders are starting to populate the CEO-set (Sony's Stringer and Nissan's Ghoan). I am confident that change is afoot.

Once my head clears from all the smoke in the airport waiting room, I will give you some more thoughts.


Anonymous stefbonnet said...

Can you tell us more about the ways Japan CEOs communicate ? Is it widely different from the western CEOs ? Will it impact the western CEOs later as Asian companies become bigger and more powerful in the business world ?

8:08 AM  
Blogger lgr said...

CEOs in Japan focus more internally and much less externally. Or that is how it appears to me. They are modest, humble and self-effacing -- yet very powerful. I think that Western CEOs are more accessible to the media and understand that communication is part of their job. I think that Western CEOs are becoming quieter like Japanese CEOs and vice versa. Somehow the next generation will meet in between.

9:38 PM  

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