Asahi Glass Co., Ltd.: Foreign branch office head becomes company president
World second biggest producer of sheet glass, Asahi Glass Co., Ltd., announced on April 14th , Stuart Chambers would be taking the seat of company CEO on June 27th. Katsushi Fujimoto will step down and become chairman of the board.
British Chambers is now also the head of Pilkington Group Ltd., and had worked for the company for many years. The ratio of Asahi Glass Co. Ltd. sales outside of Japan has reached 80%, and incorporation of an overseas subsidiary head as company president is aimed at speeding up the process of globalization of company business.
The final decision will be made on June 27th at the general shareholders meeting. Yozo Idehara will become the head of the board of directors. With the exception of external board members, 4 out of 8 directors are non-Japanese. Such a structure should be a central factor in providing for full participation of Pilkington executives in the business planning and development process. Among major Japanese companies, although Sony and Nissan have accepted non-Japanese presidents, companies where over half of board members are non-Japanese are still rare.
During the last two decades, globalization of funds and sales has been progressing at a fast pace, but only a few companies have incorporated non-Japanese personnel in its top-management.
The rare examples are inviting Carlos Ghosn as CEO from the controlling company Renault, to improve performance of the failing automotive giant Nissan Motor Co. Ltd., and appointing Howard Stringer, whose outstanding performance at developing content providing business of an American subsidiary company led to an invitation to take the place of former Sony CEO Nobuyuki Idei. Now is the time when nationality does not matter anymore when choosing best candidates for top positions.