100 Next-Era CEOs in Asia 2012 -The region's best brightest, most promising-

Yellow Hat

CEO Yasuo Horie

Kyoto, Japan
Recently, accompanying the great increase in the number of people who have a short temper is the decrease in the number of people who scold today's youth. For this reason, I hope that today's youth will find value in being reprimanded and to take to heart what they are told. It goes without saying that today's youth ought to cherish the kind of people who will expend their energy in getting angry with them. "More emotion yields more happiness." This is my motto. I hope that you will find interests in anything, marvel at everything around you and live life with more zest, fun and happiness. In order to do so, you must have a clear goal, dedicate yourself toward achieving it and to have the bravery to challenge yourself to do more and more things.

I was a rowdy boy when I was in kindergarten. I often made my friends cry. There were many instances when I stopped the school bus because I had thrown my friend's hat out of the window. In my elementary school years, I was skinny and looked like a weak, bookworm type of student. I was a serious student who would go to school without fail; the only time I was absent was during my last year in high school when I had to undergo an operation for an appendectomy. For university, I chose one that was inexpensive and easy to commute to from home. I was a serious student then as well and earned all of the credits I needed during the first three of the four years in university. I delivered newspapers during the day and worked part time during the evenings and weekends. Looking back, it was as if I was always working a part-time job.

I worked every day and each day taught me something new. Every year our sales went up and our company's performance rose; increasing pay and increasing profit made me satisfied, even if that meant I would work late into the evening. When I was a student, I liked to watch professional wrestling matches and baseball, but no longer having the time to watch television, my interest gradually waned. When I was single, my weekends would end just as soon as they began after I had cleaned my room and done the laundry.

Our company had dipped into the red for two consecutive terms and our management, which was led by banks, was faced with turning management over to the regular employees. The founder, feeling that he would like to continue to keep his full-time employees under his wing, tapped me on the shoulder and entrusted me with the fate of the company, and before I knew it, during that term I became the president of the company.

I had viewed the company from inside for many years and knew what had to be fixed, so I didn't feel any pressure in turning the company around. I also felt sure that I could get the company to make a profit within the next year and a half, as I had publicly promised. I made four clear, basic goals, and worked with the employees as one toward achieving them. However, we were faced with completely unpredictable crises — the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the resulting effects, and coming in contact with a clause in a loan contract. We had to spend a half-year trying to avoid that clause and couldn't focus on what we wanted to. The amount of work we had to do doubled, even tripled, and it was a most difficult time for all of us. There were many days when we couldn't remember when we finally went to bed, but since we were all emotionally tense, we didn't really feel fatigued.

In the near future, we'd like to achieve ¥100 billion in sales, ¥5 billion in earnings and have 550 stores in Japan and abroad. We hope not just to pursue profits but to cherish the corporate culture of Yellow Hat, and to aim at becoming a company firmly rooted in the communities we serve so that we are trusted and loved by our clients. As a company, we will continue to make solid earnings. We hope to undertake social contributions so as to become a company that is needed by society. In this regard, we hope to become a "good company," not in terms of the scale of our profits, but in terms of our benefit and contributions to society.

Company Profile

Yellow Hat
Retail sales of car parts