Messages from Outside Members of the Board

Kunihito Koumoto

Driving growth through DX and AI technologies in the next new stage

Without materials, we can make nothing and do nothing. We use physics to maximize the function of materials, chemistry to create materials, engineering to combine materials and create devices and systems, and IT technology (DX, AI, data science, IoT) to connect them all and assist human activity. In this case, it is easy to understand that material and chemical technologies support our economy and industry from the ground up. I aim to look closely, from the perspective of enhancing corporate value, at whether the businesses that Toyota Tsusho is focusing on, together with new businesses for the next stage, are grounded in solid material and chemical technologies.

To achieve dramatic growth in the next new stage, we must further intensify and expand businesses in fields where we have our strengths, move away from the mentality of always relying on others, and take on the challenge of opening up new businesses. And to do this, we will require a global approach using DX and AI technologies to streamline our businesses and projects, secure and optimize our personnel assignment, achieve sweeping reform of our business portfolio, and create unprecedented businesses that connect advanced technologies.

Didier Leroy

Contributing to TOYOTA TSUSHO business reform and human resources development to "Be the Right ONE" and to create value with stakeholders toward a sustainable future

The world changed so quickly during the last years, and multiple crisis created enormous uncertainties.

The society is changing, and the customer needs are changing. The business environment is becoming difficult for many companies. But it's also creating real opportunities for companies that can redefine quickly their business model, which can be very agile to bring practical solutions to the business partners and customers.

More than ever before the "Be the Right ONE" vision is key for our customers, business partners and our employees.

Our ability to offer optimal solutions for the society and for the planet is essential to be able to differentiate ourselves from competition.

I am very honoured to be an outside member of the board of Toyota Tsusho. In this very challenging world, I deeply feel the importance and responsibility of this position. I will leverage my experience in business reform and human resource development at Toyota Motor Corporation, and challenge the management team with opinions, to help Toyota Tsusho to "Be the Right ONE" and to create value with the stakeholders. As part of this, our employees will be more important enablers than before in achieving greater growth for the company going forward.

Of course, robust leadership is essential to accomplish this goal. More than ever, I would like to stress that with ENERGY, PASSION, and a FIGHTING SPIRIT, NOTHING is impossible.

Yukari Inoue

Contributing to further evolution toward the "Be the Right ONE" vision

Toyota Tsusho's main businesses are BtoB, so leveraging my experience at a manufacturer of consumer goods to contribute to enhanced corporate value is not so easy. I am always exploring ways to do this. For several reasons, including restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic, I have limited opportunities to visit each site. However, I can question and offer opinions, applying my knowledge, about consumer goods projects of the Food & Consumer Services Division and Africa Division. For projects of other divisions, I can question and exchange opinions from the perspectives of whether there is a competitive advantage, or whether we can secure an ongoing competitive advantage, by looking past our customers to the consumers and users beyond. Consumer needs are becoming more diverse, and are always changing, so we would be unable to propose solutions that beat our competitors by just responding to customer feedback, even in the BtoB industry. The support I provide is aimed at creating an environment that enables each of our employees to step out and step forward, understand end-user trends, and continually generate new ideas.

Over these past few years, Toyota Tsusho has grown to a new level through the leadership of management, the efforts of employees, and the support of customers and suppliers. This is a wonderful thing. I would like to mention two things that are necessary for further growth going forward. The first is that we need to verify whether the current classification of the seven business divisions is optimal for driving our priority domains. It might be time to restructure these divisions in a way that creates end-to-end synergies from the customer's perspective. The second is that we need to strike the right balance between concentrated and dispersed. Concentrating efforts certainly has benefits, but my understanding is that as a trading company, it is also extremely important that we expand our business portfolio to meet the demands of customers. It is time for Toyota Tsusho to create processes and a culture for achieving optimal balance by leveraging its recent rapid expansion. As an outside member of the Board, I will provide my objective and diverse perspectives to help enhance corporate value for the company.

Chieko Matsuda

Looking forward to continuing to create shared value with stakeholders through sustainable management

I have spent a third of my career in financial and capital markets, another third in corporate management support, and the final third in universities. Currently, I am researching and addressing corporate strategy and various issues between corporate management and the capital markets, areas in which I am deeply interested.

These days, the entire corporate environment is undergoing radical change in an era of increasing uncertainty. Management strategy has also changed from one that prioritizes maintaining a competitive edge for as long as possible to one that prioritizes the ability to continually create competitive edges with agility. The “Be the Right ONE” vision is extremely important for making further improvements to this ability. I have great expectations for this vision as an ongoing driver of sturdy management based on our corporate philosophy and medium- to long-term management strategy. I will also do my best to contribute where I can.

Also, as a factor in all of this, sustainability is an important management challenge at present. Rather than just contributing to society, I strongly believe that our businesses will also work to create shared value that contributes to enhancing corporate value through close ties with society.

However, management of this type does not work solely within the confines of a company. What is essential in these current times is to have constructive dialogue, and create a deeper understanding and cooperation, with shareholders and other stakeholders. I hope that Toyota Tsusho becomes more attractive to all manner of stakeholders, so I look forward to working with everyone to consider the future of the company.