Ex-Fuji Xerox Chairman Kobayashi dies at 82

Kyodo

Former Fuji Xerox Co. Chairman Yotaro Kobayashi, who also served as chairman of a major business lobby known as Keizai Doyukai and the Japan-U.S. Business Council, died Saturday of chronic empyema at a Tokyo hospital, the company said Monday. He was 82.

Born in London in 1933, Kobayashi graduated from Tokyo’s Keio University and earned his Master of Business Administration degree at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He joined Fuji Photo Film Co., now Fujifilm Holdings Corp., in 1958 and transferred to Fuji Xerox in 1963, according to the company.

He became the company’s president in 1978, chairman in 1992, chairman of the board in 2004 and chief corporate adviser in 2006. He retired from Fuji Xerox in 2009, it said.

As executive general manager of sales, Kobayashi in 1970 launched “Beautiful Campaign — From Hustle to Beautiful,” calling for an exit from a policy that puts the economy above all others.

He also started Japan’s first social service leave program in 1990 under the initiative to balance the interests of his company with those of the wider community and individual employees, according to the company.

Kobayashi was active outside his company, serving as chairman of the Japan-U.S. Business Council in the 1990s and chairman of the Japan Association of Corporate Executives from 1999 through 2003 as the first head of a foreign-affiliated enterprise to lead the organization.

He also co-chaired a meeting of the World Economic Forum in New York in 2002 and co-led the New Japan-China Friendship Committee for the 21st Century, a panel of experts tasked with examining politics, economics and culture among other fields to enhance bilateral relations.