The problem with Fujitsu – Failure to develop globally diverse leadership


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

Kazuo Ishida

Masami Fujita

Hideyuki Saso

Kenji Ikegai

Corporate Executive Vice President

Kazuhiko Kato

Masahiro Koezuka

Corporate Senior Vice President

Hirokazu Uejima

Tsuneo Kawatsuma

Masaaki Hamaba

Hiroshi Nagatomi

Akira Yamanaka

Bunmei Shimojima

Susumu Ishikawa

Takashi Mori

Norihiko Taniguchi

Chikafumi Urakawa

Noriyuki Toyoki

Nobuo Otani

Rod Vawdrey

Corporate Vice President

Kazuo Miyata

Makoto Murakami

Haruyuki Iida

Kazuhiro Igarashi

Takashi Yagi

Takanori Katayama

Yuichi Sakai

Yoshihiko Hanada

Yoshikazu Kudoh

Hidehiko Suzuki

Hirofumi Gouda

Yutaka Abe

Akihiko Murakami

Tamotsu Inoue

Shinichi Koizumi

Mitsutoshi Hirono

Akira Kabemoto

Kuniaki Saito

Mitsuya Yasui

Hiroyasu Takeda

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.

About capioIT - Phil Hassey

capioIT is an advisory firm focused on helping organisations to understand emerging technology in emerging markets. CEO Phil Hassey established the company in 2010
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5 Responses to The problem with Fujitsu – Failure to develop globally diverse leadership

  1. Pingback: Delimiter – Rod Vawdrey is the only non-Japanese Fujitsu exec

  2. Max van Peer says:

    Totally agree , to many staff just drinking tea ! Try to obtain a Fujitsu Lifebook in the Benelux, nobody wants to supply and nobody gives a damn , don’t bother us is the message loud and clear you are interfering with my daily rest !

  3. Urij Vetena says:

    So why did Fujitsu let Vawdrey go last week? Fujitsu’s board has gone back to being all-Japanese.

  4. Shaping tomorrow without you says:

    and now Rod Vawdrey has resigned …. its all looking rather parochial at the top

  5. Observer says:

    Indeed Rod Vawdrey has left but at the same time 3 non-Japanese corporate officers were appointed. Still very poor ratio but an obvious improvement.

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