Discussion between the President and an Outside Director
Representative Director and President Inoue and Director Sato, who was appointed as Outside Director from this fiscal year, held a discussion on Fujibo's future.
The Fujibo Group: Advancing to the Next Growth Stage
Fujibo’s Sustainability Management
Inoue: We warmly welcome you, Ms. Sato, to the Group as its second female director. Your presence will lead to stronger sustainability management by realizing diversity and bolstering governance, so we greatly look forward to your contribution. Fujibo defines sustainability management as follows: “Pursue growth and profitability while also contributing to society with integrity.” We believe that adapting to changes in the business environment and increasing profitability will pave the way for appropriate shareholder returns and increased corporate value.
Sato: That is exactly what you are doing as part of Medium-term Management Plan Zokyo 21-25, with the aim of becoming the outstanding No.1 player in a niche segment. I have the impression that the Fujibo Group is a sincere and trustworthy organization. I would urge the Group to try ambitious new things one after the other to drive further growth, while respecting the spirit of fairness and transparency that it has valued since its founding.
I’ve worked in workplaces with a lot of male employees and faced a variety of difficulties, but I’ve also experienced many things that I could only do because I’m a woman. I’d like to share my experiences with employees as I interact with them.
Inoue: The primary business of Fujibo Holdings is B-to-B manufacturing. We are focused on developing trusting relationships with customers as we conduct manufacturing in close collaboration with them, and increasing one another’s added value based on mutual trust. We have been highly rated by our customers in recent years as a result of their support, and we seek to become an enterprise that can play a part in solving social issues from an ESG perspective. Our Environmental (E), Social (S), and Governance (G) subcommittees are currently working on issues in their respective fields within the ESG Committee. Our progress in the environmental (E) and social (S) fields is still far from sufficient. We are now in the process of creating and shaping “vessels” for each of those fields. Going forward, we would like to pour various “liquids” into those vessels and fill them to the brim.
Tackling Ambitious Challenges with the Fujibo Mind
Inoue: The Company’s medium-term management plans began with Henshin (Transformation) in 2006, followed by Toppa (Breakthrough), Maishin (Advance), Kasoku (Accelerate), and Zokyo (Increase and Strengthen). Although each plan has its own new theme, all of the plans share the common theme of Henshin (Transformation). This theme expresses our desire for employees to work positively and without fear of failure. We want to emphasize the importance of creating a corporate culture in which anyone can tackle challenges.
Sato: I believe Fujibo has faced a wide range of obstacles over the course of its long history, such as the influx of cheap products from overseas. In general, while many companies strive to create products that will be accepted by a large number of people and pursue scale expansion, the Fujibo Group has striven to be the outstanding No.1 player in a niche segment. I believe this makes the Group unique and presents a formidable challenge in and of itself.
Diversity Will Make the Organization Stronger
Inoue: Your appointment as a director increases the total number of female directors to two. We have selected three members from outside the company to serve as directors and three other outside members to serve as auditors. I would like the outside directors and auditors to guide the company from an external perspective so that it does not go down the wrong path. There are some things that only an outside perspective can recognize; for example, Japanese people may discover the unique aspects of Japanese culture for the first time only after working abroad. Without restricting our recruitment to directors and auditors, we will also seek to recruit experienced women and non-Japanese individuals, to promote diversity even further.
Sato: I also believe that diversity is important. A company’s president is called upon to make decisions in a variety of situations, and the job can be lonely at times. That is why it is essential to have people around you who will give you honest feedback from a different viewpoint, and I believe the more diverse those opinions are the stronger the organization can be. In my opinion, your approach of actively bringing in outsiders and putting their perspectives to work in management is excellent.
Inoue: I would like to foster a much more collegial environment within the Company, one that is friendly and respectful with open and frank communication between all levels of the organization, while also respecting diversity. On the one hand, the Company has a steadfast culture, but on the other, I believe it tends to be overly cautious. I hope to give employees opportunities to face challenges in a variety of fields and situations, so that they can lead fulfilling lives.
Sato: Your words are encouraging and reassuring, President Inoue. I’d like to do everything I can to help you realize your aspirations, even if my contribution is small. I am excited to work with you on these and other priorities.