Harmony and cooperation are his motto, says Kichisaburo Nomura, the president-designate of All Nippon Airways Co., which has been recently rocked by turmoil in top management over personnel matters.
“Things have stabilized now,” he says. “I don’t think the company has been divided. There was a difference in opinions. Once things stabilize, we can work together for a common goal.”
Nomura, 63, is currently ANA senior managing director and head of the Tokyo sales office. He is to be appointed president at the June 27 shareholders’ meeting.
In early May, ANA’s top executives — President Seiji Fukatsu, Chairman Takaya Sugiura and Honorary Chairman Tokuji Wakasa — were embroiled in a dispute regarding authority over personnel matters. The discord ultimately led to all three executives resigning from the board to take the blame for the commotion.
The three are expected to become advisers. The reshuffle is to be approved at the shareholders’ meeting.
Amid the turmoil, Kenzo Yoshikawa was tapped to become the next president after Fukatsu, but he abruptly balked. “I will seek their advice … advice from a comprehensive viewpoint,” Nomura says. “They have experience and knowledge. But it’s the president who makes decisions.”
However, Nomura admits, the turbulence that shook ANA for nearly a month hurt the carrier’s corporate image. It holds the largest share of the domestic aviation market.
“There is no adverse effect on the safety of our operations. But we must make utmost efforts to restore our image,” Nomura says. “Our current priority is that management and employees work together for that purpose. I’m the flag bearer.”
Nomura assumes his post at a time when Japanese airlines face drastic changes in their business environment both inside and outside the country. Although the domestic aviation industry has been heavily regulated and thus protected from competition, the Transport Ministry has shifted policy toward deregulation and freer competition, allowing new carriers to enter the market and permitting flexible, instead of uniform, air fares.
Nomura stresses that he will pursue the management policy laid down by Fukatsu, who tried to transform the airline so it would be able to compete in the world market. “To obtain the strength to win in free competition, we must meet global standards,” he says. “We need to become a carrier that is selected by users from both inside and outside the country.”
ANA plans to increase its percentage of international flights from 25 percent of its total operations to 45 percent, in terms of the number of seats, Nomura says. This comes at a time when the Haneda, Narita and Kansai International airports are expanding.