Hitachi appoints two foreigners as outside board members

Kyodo

Hitachi Ltd. said Friday it has appointed two foreigners as outside board members for the first time in an effort to incorporate a global perspective in management as the company pursues further growth overseas, especially in infrastructure development.

Among the three newly appointed outside directors are George Buckley, former chairman of U.S. chemical and stationery giant 3M Co., and Philip Yeo, chairman of SPRING Singapore, an enterprises development agency under the country’s Ministry of Trade and Industry.

Harufumi Mochizuki, senior adviser to Nippon Life Insurance Co. and former vice minister at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, is also one of the new outside board members. All were approved at a general shareholders’ meeting earlier in the day.

Buckley and Yeo said in a press briefing that they will utilize their experiences to help the electric machinery manufacturer expand in the global market and raise its profit margin from around 5 percent at present.

“There is something that I can help Hitachi in emerging markets” such as China and Vietnam, said Yeo, former chief of the Singapore Economic Development Board.

To improve the profit margin, Buckley said, “One of the things that the company needs is to focus on simplification,” adding it would be better to take away parts than add them when making products.