Fujitsu is a company that in general provides a strong level of customer experience, and is able to drive innovation to the customer in its key markets. However, it lacks presence, capability and effectively charisma on the global stage.
The recent announcement (and congratulations to him), that former ANZ MD Rod Vawdrey has been appointed to lead the international business of Fujitsu highlighted the problem that Fujitsu faces outside of Japan.
A quick look at the corporate officers for Fujitsu highlighted the following situation. (Source – Fujitsu website – http://www.fujitsu.com/global/about/profile/management/
Corporate Executive Officers
President Masami Yamamoto
Corporate Senior Executive Vice President
Corporate Executive Vice President
Corporate Senior Vice President
Corporate Vice President
Of the 40 nominated senior managers, all but one, the erstwhile Rod Vawdrey are Japanese. This would work if Fujitsu gained say 2% of revenues from outside Japan, but it earns approximately 30% of revenue from outside Japan and has well recorded aspiration to increase this.
It has underperformed outside Japan in terms of strategy, performance and execution of global deals and this list highlights perhaps the most critical reason why. This is despite the likely highly capable individual experience and capabilities of these executives.
I have noticed similar trends at Indian firms (Mahindra for example) as well. Other Indian, German (SAP for example) have made significant progress to ensure that their leadership reflects the world in which they operate.
20 years ago every executive at IBM or Accenture (and Capgemini to a lesser extent) was the same demographic. They changed their culture and executive diversity to reflect their status as culturally diverse global IT providers.
If Fujitsu has even the slightest aspiration to be a truly global firm it needs to change the management to reflect the world from where it gains customers. It needs leadership from Europeans, Chinese, Indians, North Americans etc as well as the single non-Japanese executive.
If it can do this, it will go a long way to being a truly globally integrated firm, rather than a Japanese firm with a chronic “Hub and Spoke” mentality and completely centralised business culture.