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A Message from Newly Appointed CEO Ichiro Okamoto

June 25, 2015
Nippon Light Metal Holdings Co., Ltd.

(This is a condensed version of the message from CEO Ichiro Okamoto to employees.)

A Message from Newly Appointed CEO Ichiro Okamoto


I would like to begin by discussing safety. It occurred to me recently that the pattern of accidents has been virtually unchanged for a long time. Whereas it is certainly important to make facilities safe and establish safety standards, worker preparedness is just as important. The way to get to zero accidents is to continually pay attention to what is going on around you, straightforwardly repeating this simple, ordinary practice without forgetting it even for a moment. When you see someone who lacks experience of what they are doing, someone oblivious to danger, or someone being careless, point it out to them right there and then. Your attitude can make a tremendous difference when it comes to actions pertaining to safety. Let’s create safe workplaces together by following the sangen shugi (three actuals) principle.
So that we can talk about the future, we first need to understand what the Nippon Light Metal Group is and the struggles, efforts, and achievements of our predecessors in the NLM Group. NLM started out as a specialist aluminum smelter. However, the aluminum smelting industry in Japan collapsed in the aftermath of the two oil shocks that occurred some 40 years ago, and to revive itself NLM became a fully integrated aluminum manufacturer with operations extending from upstream to downstream, the vertical corporate organization advocated by former president Yoshimasa Matsunaga. Subsequently, my predecessors built the current corporate structure by applying great intelligence and making tremendous efforts. In particular, during the presidencies of Shigesato Sato and Takashi Ishiyama, NLM adopted a cross-organizational collaborative approach and accomplished organizational integration, breathing new life into the vertical organizational structure. I am humbled and honored to have inherited this excellent corporate organization and track record of business results from my predecessors. I believe that it is my mission as their successor to achieve further successes and ensure that the NLM Group flourishes and grows.
I think that the departure from dependence on aluminum smelting and transformation into an integrated aluminum enterprise founded on the cross-organizational collaborative approach was exactly the right course of action for the NLM Group. It is our mission to continue to vigorously follow this course and create new growth. We must take advantage of our strengths as an integrated aluminum manufacturer and develop into a materials manufacturer that transcends the conventional framework of such an enterprise to operate on a higher level underpinned by the excellence of our materials.
For the past 15 years, through the cross-organizational collaborative approach we have sought to increase added value by creating products and businesses that capitalize on the excellence of our materials and offering a value proposition clearly differentiated from those of other materials manufacturers. As a materials manufacturer that operates on a higher level, we demonstrate integrity and sincerity toward our customers in our business activities. Accordingly, we will implement the following five priority items with the aim of “Becoming an enterprise that is the customer’s first choice.”
The first priority item is the practice of Group management by the business divisions and cross-functional matrix organizations as “Team NLM.” Although matrix organizations are widely viewed as being inherently difficult to manage, the NLM Group has a business structure that is highly conducive to a successful matrix organization, as indicated by the breadth of the product ranges we offer. It is necessary to take a balanced view of the business from the perspective of the Group as a whole, not view the business from the perspective of a single business division. Team NLM is about distinctive, powerful business divisions combining to offer solutions to markets and customers based on consistent products and businesses, even though these businesses may engage in passionate debate.
The second priority is “create, make, sell,” the basic business cycle. This means rapidly implementing on a small scale the “create, make, sell” cycle by doing business through close coordination among development, production, and marketing in each business division and cross-functional organization.
The third priority is to become a truly international company. Previously, we have actively pursued overseas business development centered on China and Southeast Asia. I believe that over the coming few years we must work to strengthen the earnings foundation of our business bases in these regions and furthermore, as the next step, the NLM Group must transform itself into a truly international company.
The fourth priority is strategic investment of enterprise resources into product development and business development. It is important that we sow the seeds for future growth now. We will without fail channel enterprise resources into product development and business development with a view to the NLM Group’s future 5 years, 10 years, and 30 years from now. I intend to place importance on the fighting spirit to earnestly move ahead by constantly embracing challenges without being discouraged by failure.
The fifth priority is corporate social responsibility. It is a fact that a company is part of society. Long-term prosperity is inconceivable if a company narrowly pursues its own profits without considering giving back to and contributing to society.
I propose to thoroughly discuss with everyone involved the concrete business projects and other matters to be incorporated in the next mid-term management plan to be launched in the coming fiscal year. Stagnant water invariably becomes putrid. I want to proceed by continually embracing challenges, continually growing, and continually developing, refusing to be satisfied with the status quo, as our keynote.
Finally, the promotion of the health, satisfaction, and joy of employees and the happiness of employees and their families has a fundamental bearing on the success of a company. The continued existence of a company in society depends on meeting the expectations of shareholders and appreciating the community, society, and the world and all the people with whom we coexist, and moreover contributing to their progress and happiness. Working together as Team NLM, let’s create an exciting enterprise, building a solid earnings structure while at the same time being fully mindful of compliance and other aspects of CSR.