In a sign that it is catching up to the rest of the world, Japanese automobile giant Honda has just announced the appointment of the first foreigner and first female to its top management. The company has an all-Japanese and all-male board of members so a move like this is highly welcome, although very surprising.
The third-largest Japanese automaker said it was appointing Issao Mizoguchi, a senior vice president at Honda South America, to one of its operating officers. He is a Brazilian, although of Japanese descent. They also named Shibaura Institute of Technology professor Hideko Kunii to its 13-man board of directors. She is only one of the two directors who do not have an executive post within the company. According to the gender equality bureau of the Cabinet Office, only 7% of its employees and .7% of its managers are female. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe started the call last year for all Japanese companies to have at least one female executive on their senior executive team, in a bid to be more globally competitive and to enhance the role of women in business and society.
Honda sells most of its cars overseas rather than in the domestic market. Companies like them are being “pressured” into diversifying their top management, not just for the sake of having foreigners and women around, but to improve governance, risk management and global perspective. They normally appoint board members from male managers who have been working for the longest time in their companies. Honda has trailed automobile competitors Toyota and Nissan when it comes to diversifying their top management, and this latest move is seen as their way of catching up with both their rivals and also the rest of the corporate world.
[ via Yahoo ]
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