Both your publisher’s message and Bank Buyouts article make some good points regarding the recent Nomura acquisition of Lehman in Japan. How could it possibly work? Sure, by matrixing some financial statements perhaps it looks good. It certainly made a great headline for the Nikkei. But there is a massive divide in culture, business practices, and attitude towards business that will ensure it wont work. Top level people joined Lehman for the fast pace, hard work, big bonuses, global business, foreign (yet cutthroat) work practices, and maybe even foreign bosses. Whereas Nomura, an atypical Japanese behemoth, is all about long hours, low pay, lifetime employment, job security, Japanese business rules. In short, I suspect no one in Nomura believes that they will be retired by 35, or even 40, unlike many of the young smart Lehman team. So, where are the incentives for the Lehman folk to stay? Almost everything they joined Lehman for has pretty much gone. And for those who have had their current levels of pay and bonuses guaranteed, all that will unfortunately do is breed contempt from their Nomura counterparts. Sure, its sounds like an ideal partnership on paper, and well done to Nomura for being able to pull off such a deal, but unfortunately there are issues larger than the deal itself which has doomed this one.
In reading the Fusion Systems article in the most recent J@pan Inc, I would like to write a few words regarding it. Having lived and worked in Japan for the past nine years, it was interesting to read about how two young men, having slugged away at a large Japanese company like Itochu, have come out on top by running a successful company like Fusion. The CEO’s quote on what makes a good manager, “putting people in a situation which they can excel,” is true to form. A lot of Japanese and foreign managers could do with more of this insight. The entrepreneurial spirit seemed to win on Alfant’s side, but I do wonder, how will the financial crisis affect his company? As the majority of their customers (according to the article) are foreign-related.
Thank you very much for sending me a free copy. I am enjoying it very much. I am writing to you because I think your magazine should be published in Japanese as well. Some business magazines cost more than yours and I think Japanese people will enjoy reading your magazine as much as I do.