British CEO resigns from a Japanese co, "I could not be a Japanese salary-man"


Mr. Stuart Chambers resigns from a position of CEO of Nippon Sheet Glass NSG) abruptly, citing "family reasons".

Chambers took the position just a bit more than a year ago and made a headline in Japanese business press, as it was a rare case where a Japanese company chose a foreigner in a top position after the company acquired a British company Pilkington.

As you can hear in the interview, he points out "I could not become like a Japanese salaryman, who puts priority in work over family."

That reminded me of my days in Honda - I worked for Honda Motor in the 80's. There, in retrospect, the work-life balance was quite good. We did not have to put long hours like the typical Japanese companies. While I was a bit unhappy that my work hours were limited unfairly against men and therefore was getting less pay, but overall, still the work hours were not terrible at all.

Honda is a truly global company, and now I can say that the company was making a genuine effort to keep the work condition on "global standard". Other Japanese companies, I guess, still have a long way to go.