Fujio Mitarai – An image of success

Fujio Mitarai believes in the philosophy of living and working together for the common good. This is why his company Canon Inc, besides being famous for its sophisticated imaging products, is also known for its environmental preservation efforts.

Fujio Mitarai believes in the principle of kyosei – the philosophy of living and working together for the common good. This is why his company Canon Inc, besides being famous for its sophisticated imaging products, is also known for its environmental preservation efforts.

An advocate of environmental assurance technologies, Mitarai has always taken a proactive approach to synthesize environmental protection and corporate management. He actively promotes green procurement, zero waste and environment information disclosure policies so as to maximize natural resource productivity and minimize harmful environmental impact.

Alongside his earth-saving endeavors, 65-year-old Mitarai found time to successfully transform Canon from a mere camera manufacturer (then Canon Camera Inc.) to an industry leader in the world of professional and consumer imaging systems and solutions.

Now, Canon’s impressive product line includes cameras, digital audio-video gadgets, printers, copiers, facsimile machines, camcorders, and optical equipment.

This greater diversification has naturally helped beefed up Canon’s bottom line. In fiscal 2000, consolidated net income soared a staggering 90.9 percent from ¥70.2 billion (US$591 million) in 1999 to ¥134.1 billion (US$1.1 billion). Net sales and ordinary profit also rose 6.1 percent and 39.1 percent, hitting ¥2781.3 billion (US$23.4 billion) and ¥246 billion (US$2.1 billion) respectively.

Despite concerns of a further slowdown in the US economy, Canon believes that the expanding usage of the Internet and advances in wireless communication technologies will propel the multimedia society forward and create new opportunities for growth. Canon has predicted consolidated net sales of ¥3,120 billion (US$27.1 billion) and net income of ¥180 billion (US$1.6 billion) for fiscal 2001.

As president and CEO, Mitarai wants Canon to focus on the digital photo, digital office and semiconductor production equipment businesses this year, developing optical devices, photosensitive devices, semiconductor devices and software, all of which form the core competency of Canon’s digital imaging technologies.

This is part of the company’s Excellent Global Corporation Plan (2001–2005), which is aimed at making Canon the world’s top network imaging company.

"No matter where your headquarters is located, you can't think nationally. You must think globally and from an international perspective."

Besides diversifying its products, Canon is also pursuing diversification in terms of geographical reach. Canon has three regional headquarters – in Japan, Europe, and the United States. These independent operations will develop, manufacture and market products to meet the needs of local consumers. The group now has more than 86, 000 employees worldwide.

Last September, Canon listed its shares on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), under the symbol ‘CAJ’.

"No matter where your headquarters is located, you can't think nationally. You must think globally and from an international perspective," Mitarai has been quoted as saying.

With Mitarai at its helm, Canon has certainly projected an image for success. - Ariel Tam, ZDNet Asia