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Name: Laurence Bates
Title: Managing Executive Officer, Panasonic
URL: www.panasonic.com/global
Hometown: Mystic, Connecticut
Years in Japan: 30


What was your first encounter with Japan?

My dad was a career Coast Guard officer, and he spent time in Hokkaido around the time I was born. I used to hear stories from him all the time about Japan, and when I was a freshman in high school, Japanese exchange students stayed with us. I always wanted to study Japanese, but I couldn’t really do that given my academic focus on China. I started my formal study of Japanese in law school.

Laurence Bates | © HIROMICHI MATONO
Laurence Bates | © HIROMICHI MATONO

Please state your motto in life and why you have chosen it.

“Patience” and “persistence” are two words I’ve had to keep in mind when conducting business in Japan. It takes more time than first meets the eye to build consensus, especially on the complex issues I engage in all the time. You have to recognize that it takes a vision that needs to be persistently pursued, and a certain amount of patience and time horizon to achieve that vision. Sometimes, although we want to move a lot faster — and everybody agrees with that — we need to make sure we move fast in an intelligent way.

Over your career, what achievement are you the proudest of?

It’s hard to point to a specific moment, but the thing I’ve been most proud of in my career is being able to build a team with a global mindset that can help create the culture necessary to achieve compliance goals. That’s been my objective in all the jobs I’ve held, and I think I did that in my GE Capital Japan role and when I was at Lixil.

What are your goals during your time in Japan, your current position or in life?

What I’m working on at Panasonic is building the right team around me with the right knowledge. We’re going through a major transformation in this regard over the course of the next year, so putting in place the type of organization that can do what we need to do is critical. In all compliance areas, it’s important we have a global approach that is interconnected and driven in sync with each risk from a policy-framework perspective.

For the full article, please visit: https://sustainable.japantimes.com/lr

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