February 28, 2012,17:53 +0900(JST) Global Leadership Program


Two weeks ago, Sumitomo Electric Group held the Global Leadership Program (GLP). Today I would like to report on the program as I did in my last year’s entries.


Delivering a lectureThis time around, the training session consisted of three days of lectures and group discussions. Participants comprised 37 management personnel from 28 companies in 17 countries and regions. Divided into small groups, participants discussed leaders in the Sumitomo Electric Group on the theme: “What should you do as a leader to make your team strong?” Each group formed an opinion, which was presented on the final day of the program.


As part of the training program, I delivered a lecture in English for about an hour on such topics as the Sumitomo Spirit, the basics of personnel management, and the relationship between human resource development and corporate growth, although it was difficult for me to convey subtle nuances implied in Japanese words.


Group discussion sceneThis year, group discussions were held using a method of problem solving known as Appreciative Inquiry, of which I will not go into detail. In each team, all members shared their successful experiences as a leader and described the kind of leader he or she wants to be in the future. Then, each group visually presented an ideal leader using three-dimensional objects and summed it up in a keyword.


Participants, comprising males and females of different nationalities and cultural backgrounds, had a heated discussion, expressing differing opinions in a straightforward manner. I would say that these group discussions served as an opportunity for them to experience diversity firsthand.


After a closing presentation, in which discussion results were reported by each group, I presented my own image of an ideal leader and some qualities and skills needed to be a good leader. In addition to having intelligence, physical strength and guts as foundations, leaders should be patient, keep calm with a natural posture, act in good faith, be fair and square, have acquired wide and in-depth knowledge in liberal arts, and so on. Lastly, I also mentioned selflessness as a necessary trait.


Commemorative photo of participants and meAt the festive party, held at the end of the Global Leadership Program, I had a constant stream of participants coming up to talk to me. I was very happy to have the opportunity to deepen exchanges with them.


I hope that the managers who took part in this program will exert leadership in their capacities or at their work sites to achieve the collective goals of the Sumitomo Electric Group.

February 21, 2012,08:48 +0900(JST) Business Results for the Third Quarter of FY 2011


On January 31, we announced Sumitomo Electric’s business results for the third quarter of FY 2011. During the period, we suffered production slowdowns due to supply chain disruptions in the first quarter, but in the second quarter, demand picked up sharply to make up for the loss of supplies during the disaster, and then the flooding occurred in Thailand in the third quarter. We were tossed about by natural disasters like a roller coaster ride, which made our business operations very difficult.


For the cumulative third quarter of the current fiscal year, our sales were almost the same as the previous year’s figure at 1,461.8 billion yen, while we reported significant year-on-year decreases in income, due mainly to the devastating impact of the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami in the first half of this fiscal year. Our operating income stood at 46.2 billion yen, ordinary income at 62.8 billion yen, and net income at 37 billion yen.


In terms of the third quarter (October to December), however, we recorded an increase in both sales and income compared with the same period last year. Net sales increased 4% year-on-year to 505 billion yen, and operating income rose 2% to 22.4 billion yen. This was attributed to an increase in the global market share for automotive-related products that was achieved despite the impact of the severe flooding in Thailand.


Looking at the current situation in the world, the negative impact of the European credit crisis, a major destabilizing factor in 2012, is gradually undermining the global economy. We should also keep an eye on the tense situation in oil-producing Iran.


Domestically, Japan is saddled with a mountain of important political issues, such as integrated reform of the social security and tax systems, raising of the consumption tax, the U.S. military base relocation issue in Okinawa, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) issue. In addition, Japanese industry faces a very difficult business environment, shackled by the so-called six burdens, including uncertainty over electricity supply and the strong yen.


Although the business environment surrounding us is very severe, we should do our sincere best for the remaining two months of the fourth quarter to attain the estimates officially announced at the beginning of the fiscal year. We will strive to increase our sales and income by taking all possible measures: capturing demand from post-disaster restoration to the fullest; accelerating measures to cope with the sharp rise in the yen, such as local procurement of parts and materials for overseas production and shifting of production facilities to optimal locations at the global level; and thoroughly reducing all costs.


With 2012 being the final year of VISION 2012, and a year leading to the next mid-term business plan, VISION 2017, fiscal 2012 will be an important year for the Sumitomo Electric Group. Everyone at Sumitomo Electric will keep trying their very best in pursuing their duties and roles, acting as the driving force behind the Group’s growth instead of being just cogs in the machine, keeping in mind the three requests I made to them at the beginning of this year: “to start the final spurt toward the goals of VISION 2012,” “to improve your ability to deal with change,” and “to believe in your dreams and stay cheerful, energetic and happy.”

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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