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

Daiwa House Industry Co.

CEO Takeo Higuchi

Hyogo, Japan
I wish for today's youth to have clear, high ambitions. Youth is an exceptional asset; the shortcut to success is to have the sincerity and drive necessary to challenge yourself without the fear of failure.

I was treated very kindly by my grandmother and was also scolded very strictly as the eldest son in the household. "Do not lie or make pretenses. Do not trouble others. If you fight, be sure to win." These are the things that I was told, and I continue to make these maxims a guide in how I ought to live.

I accidentally saw my mother pawn her kimono while I was a university student and since then I became determined to start my own company so that I may be filial to my parents. In order to quickly learn about how companies work, I joined a small iron and steel trading company. However, I felt like the family-like atmosphere of the company was lukewarm and unstimulating, so after working there for two years and four months, I left my job for Daiwa House, which was called a "red-hot company" at the time. While I worked as an industrial hand, I put off sleep in order to learn about the company's inner workings, and soon enough people began to call me the "red-hot branch manager" as my strong performance in Yamaguchi and Fukuoka became known. At the age of 46, I was tapped on the shoulder and became a board member.

When I was working for Daiwa House Industry, I was told by the founder to turn around Daiwa Housing Development, an affiliate company, and I took the lead in the reconstruction efforts by leading the employees with a strong hand. As a result, I was able to bring the company out of the red in my second year on the job, and by the seventh year, I brought the company entirely back to life. The founder evaluated my performance, and I was made the CEO of a trillion-yen company formed by a merger between Daiwa Housing Development and Daiwa House.

Since I was reconstructing Daiwa Housing Development for eight years, I gained an opportunity to see Daiwa House Industry from an objective point of view. Returning as CEO, I saw that in the eight years that had passed, Daiwa House Industry was no longer comprised of "zealous stray samurai," but rather had become a decrepit big company. I began by undertaking a change in consciousness among the board members and changed the divisional structure of the company into a branch office system, where the branch manager bears responsibility and holds power. "The branch officer is an agent of the president" was the powerful message by which I worked hard to turn all branch office heads into real managers. As a result, the company, which had a net worth of ¥1 trillion during the merger, had increased its net worth to ¥1.5 trillion four years later, on the occasion of Daiwa's 50th anniversary.

Taking on the goal of becoming a "¥10 trillion company by our 100th anniversary" left behind by the founder, I am putting all my efforts into fostering the growth of the next generation's managers. In addition, in the third midterm managerial plan (three-year plan) that we began in 2011, we plan to increase our real estate business overseas, and have also developed the keyword "A-su-fu-ka-ke-tsu-no" (Japanese initials for safe and sound, speed, welfare, environmental energy, health, communications and agriculture), as a motto by which we plan to continue to challenge ourselves to provide products and services necessary to the world.

Company Profile

Daiwa House Industry Co.
Construction (housing, infrastructure), urban development enterprise, overseas enterprise, environmental energy enterprise, etc.