The other day, I attended the ceremony for the Sumitomo Electric Group's Glorious Excellent Company Award.
Launched in fiscal year 2006, this award system has been designed to assess the level of each group company's performance by standard criteria. This year marked the award's 13th anniversary. The assessment criteria include not only financial results, but also commitment to SEQCDD (Safety, Environment, Quality, Cost, Delivery, and R&D).
We have a total of 390 group companies both at home and abroad, with the number of employees exceeding 270,000. In addition, we have operating bases throughout the world, which are different from one another in cultures, customs, histories, etc. To achieve our common goal of being an ideal Glorious Excellent Company, it is necessary for all the group companies to unite and cooperate with each other. As part of the measures to realize this, and to make them feel they are part of the corporate group and attract greater support from them, the award annually recognizes companies that have demonstrated excellent performance.
Fiscal year 2018, the assessment period for this year's award, saw the U.S.-China trade conflict and other problems, making the business environment very difficult. Nevertheless, many group companies made strenuous efforts, leading us to honor 27 group companies. This fiscal year is going to be even more trying for us, but I hope that the award will commend many companies again next year.
At the party held after the ceremony, I enjoyed talking with staff members from group companies around the world. However, many of the participants were men, which I feel is behind the times these days. While many of the staff members of the award secretariat were women, all the awardees were men. Currently, we are working hard on various measures that will help increase the percentage of female employees. However, we still need to continue focusing on this issue.
At the same time, I hope that interaction opportunities like this will help further consolidate our sense of unity as the global corporate entity of the Sumitomo Electric Group.