Takeda’s strategic hiring is coming under fire

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A strategic direction by Japan’s largest drug maker is coming under attack from former executives and individual investors who have written a letter of protest to the Takeda board, according to The Financial Times.

The letter questioned the company’s appointment of non-Japanese to several senior positions.

“The company’s globalisation is a wrong globalisation. It should be globalised as a Japanese company. However, from the top to the bottom ,there are hundreds of non-Japanese working in the company in Japan,” said Yujiro Hara, a former head of Takeda’s real estate subsidiary who represents the group.

“We say it was acquired by a foreign capital. We cannot accept it,” he added. “Three main executive positions, finance, HR and purchase, are taken by foreigners.”

The complaint comes six months after the Takeda board approved hiring Christophe Weber, a former head of the GlaxoSmithKline vaccines unit, as chief operating officer and the intended successor to Yasuchika Hasegawa as chief executive

Driving this conflict is the belief that the talent exists in Japan for these positions and that the company should not rely on foreign talent.

Under Yasuchika Hasegawa Takeda has extended its global reach with the $20bn acquisition of Swiss drugmaker Nycomed in 2011 and Millennium Pharmaceuticals, a US biotech company, in 2008.

Foreign executive appointments make headlines in Japan. Japan has long been noted for its lack of foreign executives, because of cultural barriers, the value attached to loyalty to a particular institutions, and uncompetitive pay by global standards.