Interview with the CEO
Trust is the currency for all interactions at OCE.
What does a typical day look like for you as a CEO?
I’m a big believer that how you start your day is important and I like to start my day with a coffee and meditation for a focussed mind.Throughout a typical week, I have meetings with our Tokyo colleagues at 5:00am.Then I focus on reaching effective solutions for matters that may have arisen the day before.I review the tasks ahead within our business and ongoing transactions, I like to go through various scenarios and possible outcomes to make high quality decisions. Although I check emails throughout the day, I like to dedicate some time in the morning to respond to any overnight emails before my day progresses onto video calls and meetings. Generally, I engage with APAC in the early mornings, EMEA from about 7:00am and with the USA from about 1:00pm. I have a fantastic team of professionals who are committed and on hand to help me with developing our strategies on growth and expansion within ORIX UK as well as with ORIX Europe, Japan and North America. I have discussions with our investees, business partners and investment bankers for opportunities, exchanging views and opinions. I also network with senior stakeholders and other CEOs. It is invaluable to me to have a wealth of expertise available to me and helps me make informative and crucial decisions to drive our operations forward, strengthen our global vision and motivate.
Why did you join ORIX and what has changed since then?
I joined ORIX in 1993, attracted by the huge growth potential, I felt as it was successfully expanding and diversifying its business both organically and in organically and unlike a regulated bank, ORIX was a financial business conglomerate, listed on both the Tokyo Stock Exchange and New York Stock Exchange, that allowed it to make a decision based on pure economics and sober risk and return analysis and move it quickly to seize the opportunities that were unfolding in an early stage. However, the scope was mostly confined to a financing business back then. Almost 30 years on, the business has made a big transformation, comprising of many new business segments, most notably an asset management (with a global AUM of $ 449 billion), a renewable energy business of 3.3 GW in operation (and 9GW in Elawan, 18GW in Greenko in development and under construction), an infrastructure operation (airports and water systems), and the net income of ORIX becomes ca.15 times greater and continues to grow. Also, it has expanded and today ca. 50 % of profit comes from overseas operation, with UK/Europe and the US leading the growth. What has not changed is our willingness for growth, good risk appetite and continuously reinventing our business in response to changing circumstances and new prospects of emerging industries and opportunities.
What divisions within ORIX have you worked in over the course of your career?
My career largely follows the path on which ORIX has diversified its business. I started my career with lending and leasing as many would have done back then, and built a securitization business on a originate and distribute model (which went almost dead in the wake of the Global Recession of 2008 and barely survived), joined and led a distressed and special situations investment team (there were times after 2008, though not long, everything was priced as distressed), led an M&A team, headed an infrastructure investment and operation business. Along the way, also took on executive roles, including CFO, of the companies we invested in.
What are your values as a CEO?
“Trust and confidence”. Trust is the currency for all interactions internally and externally and with all the stakeholders present and future. Without trust, clients wouldn’t choose us, employees wouldn’t stay, and shareholders wouldn’t allocate capital, group companies and investees wouldn’t collaborate.
What is your vision for ORIX UK?
ORIX UK is a platform for growth for the entire ORIX Group that it is expected (i) to identify burgeoning industry trends or societal changes and establish bridgeheads as well as (ii) to support geographic expansion or products diversification of our existing businesses (ORIX has a very wide array of businesses), primarily by way of mergers and acquisitions.
How have you found doing business in Europe differs from Japan?
The core principle is the same. People per se are not so different, but I believe we can offer a different choice for management wishing for further long term growth, or sellers who have stakes economic or non-economic in the growth of the business. We have long-term capital, a strong balance sheet and ability to be flexible on risk-return spectrums. Rather than financial engineering, trading on yield compression or a multiple arbitrage, our preferred approach is always on a real business value creation, which requires time and patience. We trust the existing management teams (otherwise we don’t invest) and we take a hands-off approach while helping pursue group wide synergies and collaboration.
If you could impart any advice to young individuals joining the financial industry, what would it be?
It is great to develop skills and experience and make friends around what you like and what you are good at, but it is equally important that you are open to new ideas and new career opportunities in response to long term societal changes, without being trapped by what you’re attuned to in both expertise and experience. And always value trust internally and externally over short-term profit. It shall pay off much bigger in the long run.