Leaders May 2013

Our First Contested Election

Results: president and five board members are women

In recent years, the BCCJ has enjoyed a measure of success and a number of new developments: membership has risen steadily and organically, attendance at our events has continued to grow, while online engagement across seven digital platforms is at an all-time high.

Members in a variety of industries and from firms of all sizes have come to appreciate the value of the connections that membership can bring to their work and life in Japan. But, perhaps most significantly, increasingly more members are keen to become involved in helping to run the chamber.

So, at the annual general meeting on 25 April, we went to the polls for the first time in our 65-year history!

After a nail-biting meeting, opened by British Ambassador to Japan Tim Hitchens CMG LVO, the Executive Committee election produced the following winners (in alphabetical order):

• Paul Atkinson (Individual Member)
• David Bickle (Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited)
• Ray Bremner OBE (Unilever Japan)
• Graham Davis (The Economist Group)
• James Dodds (KPMG)
• Simon Farrell (Custom Media K.K.)
• Philip T Gibb OBE (Individual Member)
• Alison Jambert (Eat Creative K.K.)
• Anna Pinsky (Canning Professional, K.K.)
• Suzanne Price (Price Global)
• Reiko Sakimura (Clifford Chance)
• Vishal Sinha (British Airways)
• Yayoi Sogo (Individual Member)
• Richard Thornley CBE (Rolls-Royce Japan Co., Ltd.)
• James Weeks (Kreab Gavin Anderson)

The election was hotly contested among 19 candidates and, for the first time, candidate statements and photos could be viewed online.

Interest was strong, with over 30% of members registering votes within the allocated time, while it was soon standing room only in the meeting area.

Alison Jambert, whose first BCCJ ACUMEN column appears on page 15, was elected chairperson to the executive committee. After Alison Pockett MBE, she is only the second female president in the history of the BCCJ.

Moreover, as if this isn’t enough, the number of female board members is unprecedented: five of the 15 are women.

In the 2013–14 chamber year, the British Embassy Tokyo continues to be represented in an ex-officio capacity by Sue Kinoshita, director of UK Trade and Investment at the British Embassy Tokyo.

Similarly, Jeff Streeter, British Council Japan director, represents his organisation for the next 12 months.

There is perhaps no greater measure of success for the BCCJ than the desire of members to play a part in further enhancing its value.

I’m genuinely looking forward to working with the new executive committee throughout the coming year, and to continue serving all BCCJ members.

Please join us in congratulating the winners and thanking all the candidates for their participation in this landmark election.