I was expecting a negative reception in Japan — but in a certain way I was prepared for it — because obviously I don’t know why the Japanese public would trust somebody coming from outside, with a limited experience in Japanese corporation, limited experience of Japanese culture, trying to take care of a company which is one of the most renowned names in Japan, which has been struggling at least for the past ten years. So when I was received in Japan, I was received with a lot of skepticism, obviously some criticism, some negative comments, but most of the public was, I would say, skeptical. Skeptical because, from one side they said, “Well, this guy has courage to come in a situation that he did not create and try to shore up a company which has been in trouble for Japanese society for such a long time.” On the other side they said, “But what is he going to be able to do that Japanese management was not able to do for the last ten years?”
I was very happy to have skepticism and not significant animosity against me. This put a lot of pressure on me to deliver results quickly, because skepticism is an unstable situation. It can go to support or it can go to resistance and negative attitude. The difference is how much can you transform the reality into something better. This put a lot of pressure to deliver results quickly, and that’s why we were able to come with a plan three months after I assumed my responsibility, and committing on results already on the first year of the plan. I wanted to make sure that I will have the attention of the public, and hopefully get the public to judge on the results and not on intention, or not on origin, and not on gender, or not on culture, and as you know, that’s what ended up happening.