Leaders March 2015

BCCJ events, elections offer chances to engage

Call to contribute to AGM

With the exception of the 2014 British Business Awards on 14 November, 17 February was undoubtedly the busiest day to date in the 2014/15 calendar of the British Chamber of Commerce in Japan (BCCJ).

We welcomed a total of more than 170 members and guests to breakfast and evening events, where respectively, speakers Lord Deighton KBE (page 26) and Paul Polman addressed the challenges of governance, accountability, and sustainability.

Art of communication
Deighton is Goldman Sachs’s former chief operating officer for Europe and former chief executive of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, while Polman is former chief financial officer of Nestlé S.A. and chief executive of Unilever PLC.

With these credentials, there was never a doubt that their presentations would be both entertaining and thought provoking.

For me, however, it was their charisma and conviction as speakers that made them so engaging. It is proof again, for those who wish to inspire others, that great leaders are—first and foremost—great communicators.

No less impactful, and hugely entertaining, was our event on 4 March with Neil Taylor, head of international BrewDog bars, and David Croll, chief executive of BrewDog Japan.

Speaking to a packed audience at the brand’s Roppongi bar, Taylor and Croll provided insight into the firm’s business model covering the creation and—very importantly—delivery of value through their logistics and bar network.

The story of BrewDog’s success provides a fascinating case study for managers and students of business alike.

Old and new
On 1 April we will move from hops to grapes and join our chamber friends from Australia, New Zealand, Italy and France at the “Great International Chambers’ Wine-Off” hosted by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Japan.

With Berry Bros. & Rudd flying the flag for Britain, this will be an opportunity for wine makers and distributors from each participating country to showcase their finest wines. Join us to find out whether there is a niche for the UK between the Old World and New World orders.

Engage and give
The highlighted events are a mere snapshot of almost 40 business and social occasions that the BCCJ has held this year—more than ever.

We will continue to provide opportunities for our members to hear about and, it is to be hoped, learn from the commercial successes and struggles of others. I encourage you to browse the summaries that are being regularly posted on the BCCJ website.

If you would like to help shape the policies and objectives of the chamber, and our strategies for achieving them, I urge you to consider standing for election to the BCCJ executive committee at our AGM on 27 April.

Details of the nomination and election process were emailed to members on 12 March and are on the BCCJ website.