November 20, 2009,13:23 +0900(JST) Theory of Social Practices

I had never thought of teaching at a university, but it so happened that I had such an opportunity when I was asked by my old school to give a talk on the theory of social practices. So, in front of some 100 students, I talked for eighty minutes on the theme of “Globalization and Captains of Industry,” occasionally including some of my personal experiences for reference.

At the classroomAs soon as I entered the classroom, I sensed how it has changed with the times; it seemed that now most students preferred to sit at the back of the room with front seats empty, and there were a greater number of female students. During my talk, some students were enthusiastically listening and taking notes; unfortunately, some others were nodding off. If I had been giving the talk at my company, I would have exploded in anger at those who were dozing off. However, this time I concentrated on speaking to those listening earnestly, sympathizing with my past teachers’ efforts in keeping their students attention.

After briefly introducing my background, I tried my best to give a speech that would be of some benefit for the students. The main areas I discussed were: lessons from my school days, the basic spirit of business models (my personal note about company management, upon assuming the position of president), some remarks for new recruits, the meaning of “Captains of Industry,” desired qualities in employees, and so on.

The lessons from my schools days are as follows: (1) discipline, self-restraint and cooperation are vital qualities for a member of society, which can be cultivated through varsity team and other club activities, (2) educating oneself through study of the classics is important for developing a well-rounded character, just like a strong foundation is indispensable for supporting a large structure, and (3) apart from knowledge, physical and mental strength obtained through sports is also pivotal, as in the long journey of life there will be many difficulties that can not be simply solved by an equation.

At the classroomI believe the university’s education philosophy of “Captains of Industry” is an eternal spirit, even nowadays in the increasingly globalized society.
The eighty minutes seemed to fly by, and I wondered if my message had reached the audience. After my talk, some enthusiastic students approached me with some questions. I advised them to take action first rather than worrying too much about this or that and also not to take the easy path but to constantly try and challenge themselves.

While it is said that there is an increasing number of people who don’t have dreams these days, the energy and power of our youth are crucial for the development of society and organizations. So in conclusion, I would like to say to everyone that I hope they will try to challenge themselves in their studies, sports and life in general, so that they will throw off this sense of stagnation and strive to become a non-conformist with a solid backbone.

Lastly, I am looking forward to reading everyone’s reports on my recommended book.

November 16, 2009,17:46 +0900(JST) IR Meeting

The other day, we held our regular Investor Relations (IR) meeting at the Tokyo head office. Despite the rain, over 100 analysts attended the first IR meeting held in the new Tokyo head office since its relocation to the Shibaura Renasite Tower in Tamachi. Unlike our previous conference room on the first floor, the room used this time featured a high ceiling and commanding view from the 12th floor, allowing me to clearly see the face expressions of the audience.

A scene from the IR meetingThe meeting started with my presentation on the theme of “Returning to a growth track and towards achievement of VISON 2012.” In the presentation, I reported on our progress regarding restructuring and cost reductions, key factors for further growth, as well as challenges and future initiatives in each business segment. Thanks to our efforts so far to strengthen our overall structure, we are gradually moving towards a leaner and tighter corporate body. As such, we will most likely be able to return to pre-Lehman shock profitability levels in the second half. The key factors for our future growth include: (1) our approach towards emerging countries, such as China, India and Brazil; (2) capturing the demand of electric and communication infrastructures; and (3) developing environmental-friendly technologies, such as products for energy-efficient vehicles, recycling energy, superconductors and power devices.

Following my presentation, Mr. Hideaki Inayama, Managing Director in charge of accounting, made some additional comments on the financial results of the second quarter. Then Mr. Atsushi Yano, Managing Director and head of the info-communications business, explained about the recent activities of the optical and electronic devices business. As a result of the reorganization between Sumitomo Electric and Eudyna Devices Inc. in August 2009, Sumitomo Electric assumed responsibility for the entire business regarding sales and marketing, strategic planning, as well as research and development of optical and electronic devices. Meanwhile, Eudyna was assigned product development and manufacturing, and changed its corporate name to Sumitomo Electric Device Innovations, Inc.

Recently we were awarded the title of Cisco Supplier of the Year for 2009, which is a good indication that we are favored by our customers. We will draw upon the synergy effects of the reorganization and vertical integration from materials (chemical compound semiconductors) to optical devices and modules, in order to secure our position as the world leader in our industry.

In the question-and-answer session, we received some questions regarding market trends and prospects in our business fields including wire harness, optical fibers, electronic devices and electricity. We did our best to outline our intentions. The session was a good opportunity to communicate with the audience.

Although the economic situation remains unpredictable due mainly to the appreciation of the yen, increasing commodity prices, and stagnant employment and consumption, we will focus on strengthening our corporate structure and developing new businesses, so as to meet the expectations of our stake holders. We appreciate your continuous support in moving forward with these initiatives.

November 9, 2009,14:51 +0900(JST) The 41st Tokyo Motor Show 2009

Our boothThe other day, I attended the 41st Tokyo Motor Show 2009 on its final day.

Influenced by the economic crisis since last autumn, this event saw a marked change from two years ago, with both exhibit booth and visitor numbers down by more than half. I could not help feeling that the decorations and atmosphere of the show this time were a far cry from when it was prized as one of the world’s three major motor shows. In particular, the sharp drop in the number of exhibitors from overseas perhaps points to the decline of the already developed Japanese market, in comparison to the continually expanding Chinese market.

Despite this, Japan’s world-leading automobile companies displayed ingenuity in introducing their HV, PHV and EV models and fuel-cell cars, as well as the environmental energy technologies behind them.

 At our boothThe Sumitomo Electric Group featured a wide variety of products and technologies for a safe, comfortable and environmentally-friendly automobile society — more specifically, high-voltage harnesses and motor magnet wire for HVs, electrode materials for nickel-hydrogen batteries, lightened vibration-free rubber, ITS systems for traffic control and safe driving support, and superconductor technology.

The centerpiece of our booth was a frame car: a full-size car built with pipes and equipped with our auto-related products. It attracted many people and was quite a popular exhibit. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their participation.

Sumiden Friend’s foliage plantsOur booth was bright and spacious, employing a sweeping design based on white and green. Efforts to create a comfortable space were seen here and there, such as the many foliage plants placed around the booth, the use of cushion flooring, and an aroma diffuser to create a relaxing atmosphere.

Sumiden Friend, Ltd, a special subsidiary of our company, provided the foliage plants scattered around the booth. I hope to see more of such business opportunities for them in the future.

SUMITOMO ELECTRIC President CEO Masayoshi Matsumoto

Born in 1944 in Hyogo Prefecture, Masayoshi Matsumoto joined Sumitomo Electric in 1967. After serving as General Manager of Chubu District Office, Managing Director and Senior Managing Director, he assumed office of President and CEO in June 2004.

His leisure activities include jogging, reading and art appreciation. Also a seasoned athlete, he played baseball in junior high school and practiced judo in senior high school. In university, he threw the javelin competitively and participated in all-Japan inter-university competitions.

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