business

Honda considers opening board to foreigners

21 Comments
By Maki Shiraki and Yoko Kubota

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21 Comments
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Shouldn't this headline read, "Honda considers being a little less xenophobic and sexist, but only a little bit, and provided that the foreigners aren't too loud and the women are pretty and wear short skirts"?

10 ( +15 / -6 )

This would be a mistake. It would be sad to see another company slowly turned into the generic model of greed in the world.

-9 ( +4 / -13 )

subyyakiFeb. 23, 2014 - 03:53PM JST This would be a mistake. It would be sad to see another company slowly turned into the generic model of greed in the world.

Oh yes! Of course! Because all women and foreigners are greedy and all the same ("generic"). Wow, are you perhaps a current director of Honda?

And of course foreign directors never do any good, just look at Canon. What disgraceful airing of their dirty laundry in public! What would the neighbors say?

6 ( +9 / -3 )

subyyaki wrote: This would be a mistake. It would be sad to see another company slowly turned into the generic model of greed in the world.

As opposed to the uniquely Japanese model of greed! I wouldn't be surprised if they chose a foreign "yes man" who will basically not make any waves. This will give investors confidence that they are forward thinking while it is actually business as usual. Think the airline commercial with the Japanese man wearing a long fake European nose.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Just a Token offering really, if they were serious they would have a number of the top qualified people on the world on the board.

A bit gutted I didn't get the phone call though. ;))

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This is a good move, as it adds a new voice into the old boys club. The question is how resistant the current old boys will be. Many times a foreigner is just added as a token, with no real intention of listening to anything they way. But other times the foreigner can work as a somewhat outside influence, allowing them to say and propose things the current members cannot. In such a situation, often the Japanese people will come to the foreigner and ask them (or try to subtly influence them) into proposing new ideas.

And of course foreign directors never do any good, just look at Canon.

Maybe you mean Olympus? Or maybe I don't know what you are referring to with Canon.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Honda last year adopted an ambitious goal to expand global sales to 6 million cars annually by the year to March 2017, a 50 percent jump from last year’s total.

A streetwise foreign director might just have stopped this announcement.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I own two Hondas and I'm a foreigner. Can I please be on the board? Pretty please!!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

And of course foreign directors never do any good, just look at Canon. What disgraceful airing of their dirty laundry in public! What would the neighbors say?

And your credibility just continues on to even greater heights.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

So, I ask the anti Japan crowd, when's the last time General Motors, Ford, or Chrysler ever considered a person of Japanese descent for a CEO or board position?

Funny how Japanese companies have been more than open to having foreigners in positions of importance in their corporations (Nissan or Sony anyone?).

The day the American big 3 auto makers even remotely considers a Japanese person for a top position is the day we will see mass anti Japanese racism and hatred rear its head from the American masses.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Shouldn't this headline read, "Honda considers being a little less xenophobic and sexist, but only a little bit, and provided that the foreigners aren't too loud and the women are pretty and wear short skirts"?

Frungy -- brilliant.

This would be a mistake. It would be sad to see another company slowly turned into the generic model of greed in the world

subyyaki -- nonsense. They already get the vast majority of their sales and profits from outside Japan. It is high time they made their board more reflective of their actual company, including women, who probably buy at least 40% of their vehicles here in the U.S.

So, I ask the anti Japan crowd, when's the last time General Motors, Ford, or Chrysler ever considered a person of Japanese descent for a CEO or board position?

oldman13 -- again, a total red-herring. Since, as you full well know, Japan is basically a closed market to most U.S. auto companies, and therefore generates at most 1% of their sales, there would be no value at all to such a move. But, GM did just appoint a woman as CEO, so they are far ahead of any Japanese company in respecting and rewarding real diversification.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

StrangerlandFeb. 23, 2014 - 05:21PM JST Maybe you mean Olympus? Or maybe I don't know what you are referring to with Canon.

Yup, that's the one. Sorry for the error.

oldman_13Feb. 23, 2014 - 08:49PM JST So, I ask the anti Japan crowd, when's the last time General Motors, Ford, or Chrysler ever considered a person of Japanese descent for a CEO or board position?

Straw man argument. This should more correctly be when's the last time GM, Ford or Chrysler ever considered a non-U.S. citizen for a CEO or board position, because that's the correct comparison here, Honda employing ANY foreigner from ANY other country. Or any woman.

It is ironic that you used Chrysler as an example since its CEO is Sergio Marchionne, an Italian. One of the nine directors is female, not representative, but better than Honda. Or what about Ford? Even Ford's board of directors, which could serve as a an advertisement for nepotism, features people like Jorma Ollila, who is Finnish, and two women (admittedly, only two out of 18). General Motors is a bit nationalistic, I didn't recognise any names that stood out as obviously foreign to google and I'm too lazy to check, but of their 19 board members 5 are women, that's more than 25% women, and while it isn't the 51% it should be that's still better than most.

So what was your point again, that this sort of nationalistic misogyny is normal internationally? No, no it isn't. I do think that internationally there should be more female representation on boards of directors, but 0% representation in Honda leaves a LOT to be desired.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Diversity has exactly zero effect on productivity. It's just a ploy by neocon lobby-groups to water down cultural identity. Yes, japanese companies are led by a team of corrupt old men. But there are more than enough talented young Japanese who can't find a decent paying job. Let them do it!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Diversity has exactly zero effect on productivity. It's just a ploy by neocon lobby-groups to water down cultural identity.

Selchuk -- what? Diversity has been shown to have a HUGE positive effect of corporate performance in countries where it is the norm, rather than the exception like Japan. That is why dozens of companies in Europe, and such leading companies in the U.S. as Coke, Pepsi, GM. Yahoo, IBM.... have either a foreigner or a woman as CEO.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I think Honda in Japan will do this change because of the increasing importance of company's North American operations, especially now with the opening of the new assembly line in Mexico for the Honda Fit (and a new small "crossover" utility vehicle based on the Japanese-market Honda Vezel).

1 ( +1 / -0 )

How about women?

So, I ask the anti Japan crowd, when's the last time General Motors, Ford, or Chrysler ever considered a person of Japanese descent for a CEO or board position?

They don't make many cars in Japan nor employ many Japanese workers. The major kinds of consumers and workers they represent should get representatives on the board.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Diversity has been shown to have a HUGE positive effect of corporate performance in countries where it is the norm, rather than the exception like Japan. That is why dozens of companies in Europe, and such leading companies in the U.S. as Coke, Pepsi, GM. Yahoo, IBM.... have either a foreigner or a woman as CEO.

How does having a foreign or female CEO change anything? CEOs basically all have the same personality type necessary to be a leader. A female CEO is no less masculine than a male CEO. Apart from that diversity is just a big image campaign, it's hip and trendy and no company can afford to tell the politically incorrect reality: More often than not females get hired just for their gender, not for their productivity. How do you think this affects overall corporate productivity? All those companies did fine without diversity for decades and now all of a sudden that's not true anymore?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This all sounds nice and modern, but I am sure Honda wouldn't have the balls to hire a truly outspoken board member. As Michael Woodford exposed the true Japanese biz culture, I am also sure very few oyaji-run companies would dare to hire a person of any actual worth, with any actual revolotionizing thoughts. Such a person would just oust the oyaji and we can't have that. As I say over and over: nothing ever really changes in Japan - it's more of the same.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

How do you know they are looking at Olympus? Maybe they are looking at Nissan, who in case you didn't know, has been run by a foreigner for years now.

Not all Japanese companies are the same, and not all Japanese ojisan are the same. You have just prejudged them, based purely on their race and sex. You know what that's called - sexism and racism.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

So, I ask the anti Japan crowd, when's the last time General Motors, Ford, or Chrysler ever considered a person of Japanese descent for a CEO or board position?

When Japan decides to buy their cars maybe. Totally meaningless comment

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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