Maintaining Ricoh's corporate value on behalf of all stakeholders
The Ricoh Group established The RICOH Way as a set of guiding principles and values that serves as the foundation for all our business activities. Abiding by these principles in corporate ethics and compliance and maintaining transparency in management, we continuously strive to improve our governance, and in doing so ultimately enhance our corporate value.
We strongly believe that responsible global citizenship calls for a corporate culture that embraces a sense of mission to meet the expectations of diverse stakeholders — a culture that is committed to operating under the highest ethical standards in line with the expectations of society as a whole.
Based on this belief, we advance the operations of the entire Group under The RICOH Way, strengthening our governance and ceaselessly promoting a culture of integrity while working toward sustainable corporate growth.
The Ricoh Group has also introduced a corporate audit system, in which audit and supervisory board members strengthen the effectiveness of audits and the monitoring of top management, while the Board of Directors, including outside directors, maintains strict oversight over the decision-making process to make sure it is always transparent and fair. Futhermore, by expanding the executive officer system, the segregating of duties between oversight and business execution is clarified, resulting in speedier decision-making.
The Group has also implemented an integrated risk management system for both business opportunities and business execution, and follows internal control procedures to achieve the success of our corporate strategies and business targets.
Globalization means we all compete on the same playing field, like it or not
Our planet is vast and contains diverse cultures and values. Corporate management philosophies are equally diversified. Some companies constantly operate at high speed. Others race in bursts of explosive movement in pursuit of immediate gains. Whatever the business style, however, everyone in similar industries has to compete on the same playing field in this increasingly globalized world.
As an outside director, I strive to consider issues from a shareholder's perspective while keeping world affairs and competing businesses in mind. I work to extract key points from every proposal submitted to the Board, highlight issues and make recommendations. I endeavor to be a catalyst for free and open-minded discussions under pressure to ensure that Board meetings are productive.
Ricoh has established solid core businesses. Improving their performance will strengthen the corporate foundation and generate the revenue and time to pursue new initiatives that will underpin the company's prosperity over the next 30 to 40 years. I have great expectations for the future of Ricoh.
Mr. Umeda has advanced knowledge of information technology and experience in global business. This gives him expert ability to analyze our decision-making process and offer valuable recommendations from an external viewpoint. His attendance rate for the 12 Board meetings held in fiscal 2013 was 100%.
In a fast-changing, competitive environment, management must pull together a global team with on-the-ground expertise and full awareness of corporate responsibility
In my capacity as the head of a major corporation, I have conducted business fully aware of corporate social responsibility, placing emphasis on the workplace and global teamwork in a tough and rapidly changing business environment that has included the global financial crisis, the Great East Japan Earthquake and the extremely strong yen. From experience, I believe it is important for top management to execute the following three points:
1. Initiate communication with employees and business partners
Top management needs to communicate current issues, the company's charted course and strategies directly to employees and business partners (including distributors and vendors). The goal is to spread understanding so as to align all corporate activities in the same direction.
2. Never put off dealing with risks
Risk is part of business. Every risk identified must be reported and dealt with adequately and promptly. This must be followed up by full enforcement of measures to prevent recurrence of unnecessary risk.
3. Top priorities: Safety, environment and compliance
To create a corporate culture valuing these priorities, they must become part of the agenda of daily operations. For example, monthly and weekly meetings might start with reports on safety, environmental and compliance issues before moving on to business performance.
I hope to continue with constructive participation in board meetings as an outside director to enhance Ricoh’s corporate value.
Mr. Noji was formerly president and CEO of Komatsu Ltd. He has abundant experience and expertise as a member of the top management of one of the leading companies of Japan. He has attended eight out of the 10 Board meetings held since his appointment (attendance rate: 80%).