Mr Uotani isn’t your typical Japanese shachou. Educated in the US, with a master’s in business administration from Columbia Business School, and with a background of well over 30 years in the consumer goods industry, he is the first Shiseido president to be appointed from outside the company in its 144-year history. This reflects the board’s determination to evolve the company from its Japanese roots to being a leading global business, but it’s a journey that is, by Mr Uotani’s own account, “very challenging”. “This is a company in Japan, where people just go and work for a company after graduation from college and stay there for almost their whole career,” says the former chief of Coca-Cola Japan.
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