Maintaining deep-rooted values and taking steps to invest in people is critical in times of rapid globalization.
“Globalization is not an option; it’s a must.” President and CEO Christophe Weber stressed the importance of being a global corporate citizen while delivering a passionate keynote address at the 50th Anniversary Forum for Nikkei Business Publications. Established in 1960, Nikkei Business is the most prestigious publication for Japanese executives and business leaders. This commemorative event, which drew 850 attendees, honored the organization’s long-standing presence and influence in Japan’s business market. Having recently completed Japan’s largest ever acquisition, Weber was invited to give his nuanced take on how Takeda had overcome complex cultural and social challenges on its way to becoming a truly global biopharmaceutical company.
Building a Global Mindset
Changing industry dynamics, the growth of overseas markets and sharp escalations in the costs of R&D development have, according to Weber, made globalization a necessity. In order for Takeda to remain competitive it must focus on developing highly innovative medicines and this requires having a strong footprint in the world. Takeda seized this opportunity and today it is a truly global player with a presence in approximately 80 countries, and leading positions in Japan and the United States. Fostering this global presence allows Takeda to fully realize its patient-centric ethos by delivering on its goal to provide care to patients who need it worldwide.
Sustaining Core Values
In explaining the company`s success, Weber highlighted the importance of asking a crucial question: “Who is Takeda?” He stressed that much like people, companies have personalities and that these develop in complexity over time. Throughout Takeda’s 238-year history, its Japanese roots and unchanged values have been a guiding compass by which the company is navigating its transformation into a global biopharmaceutical leader. “Embodied in this personality”, says Weber, “are the principles of Integrity, Fairness, Honesty and Perseverance - a set of core values we call `Takeda-ism`.”
From his unique vantage point as the first non-Japanese CEO, Weber has been able to recognize the vital importance of preserving these values as well as their significance as an effective catalyst for growth and globalization. “Takeda-ism is the DNA of our company,” Weber said. “You can call it culture or a mindset, but it defines who we are and what we will become.”
Following Takeda’s unprecedented acquisition of Shire, these core values have anchored the company during the crucial first few months of its ongoing integration. They have also united Takeda’s 50,000-strong, diverse workforce with a clear purpose: to always put the patient at the center of everything they do.
Nurturing Global Talent
While Weber spoke of the importance of encouraging and empowering employees across the globe to incorporate “Takeda-ism” in all that they do, he also stressed the need to pass this DNA on to the next generation. “Future success lies in our future leaders,” Weber stated, which is why Takeda is investing in global talent development programs such as the Global Induction Forum and Weber’s own annual President’s Forum which brings together executive candidates from around the world.
“The answer to the question ‘Who is Takeda?’”, Weber shared in closing, “is a system of unchanged values which has brought us all together. It is the motivation to know that we will always do the right thing by the patient even as we continue to grow and expand.”