Nidec’s President Shigenobu Nagamori has just been voted the Presidents’ President by other Japanese CEOs in the Nikkei Business magazine. Nidec, known as Nippon Densan in Japan, is a manufacturer of electric motors found in hard disk drives, household appliances and other equipment.
Around 90% of their 100,000 or so employees are overseas – mostly in ex-Japan Asia, but with nearly 3000 in Europe, they make it into our Top 30 Japanese companies in Europe, nudging out another company that is a quiet Japanese success, Horiba. See below for the updated chart.
Nagamori founded the company in 1973 with three colleagues, and has a reputation for being outspoken and unafraid – most recently hitting the headlines for hiring ex President of Sharp, Mikio Katayama as technology chief, despite his having been pushed aside for his perceived failures there.
Rooting around on the web reveals Nidec feels different from other Japanese companies – for a start many of its Japanese executives in Europe are on LinkedIn. It is also very transparent and clear about the company and what it stands for (although I am not entirely convinced by the slogan “all for dreams”), and 6 of its 9 strong management team come from other companies.
Nidec decided to focus on the auto industry recently, and to that end acquired the motor and actuator business of the French company Valeo and Italian company ASI, which explains the large number of Italian operations. This talent for M&A was the factor that Nagamori was most highly rated for by his peers, along with the untranslatable “ningenryoku” – literally meaning human strength, skills or ability as opposed to technical skills – perhaps we’d call this leadership, or interpersonal skills, EQ even, in the West.
Nidec’s Japanese roots are still obvious though – “Employment stability based on sustainable business growth” is cited as its top management creed.
Other Top 30 Best Presidents whose companies are also in the Top 30 in Europe are Akio Toyoda (Toyota) at #3, Shigetaka Komori (Fujifilm) at #5, Hiroaki Nakanishi (Hitachi) at #15, Kazuhiro Tsuga (Panasonic) at #17=, Yoshimitsu Kobayashi (Mitsubishi Chemical Holding) #17=, Carlos Ghosn (Nissan) at #17= and Fujio Mitarai (Canon) at #30
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