Naito gives back with a world of insight
Naito knows a thing or two about institutional commitment,
about taking a cherished organization and striving to make
it better and enduring.
and CEO of the Japanese human healthcare company Eisai Co.
Ltd., he assumed the leadership of a firm founded by his grandfather,
Toyoji, in 1936 and then passed down to Naito's father, Yuji.
About 17 years ago, Naito stepped up to lead the Toyko-based
enterprise whose global products include the Alzheimer's disease
treatment, Aricept, and the gastric disorder medication, Aciphex/Pariet.
and excitement are the true joy of being in business," says
Naito, a 1974 Kellogg graduate who has given back to the school
by serving on its alumni advisory board since 1992 and as
president of the Kellogg Alumni Club of Japan since its founding
in 1994. The club, he says, currently boasts 582 members and
tries to keep a mutually beneficial relationship with Kellogg
by delivering "important empirical information" to the school.
"personal commitment" to Kellogg is "vital" for alumni who
hope to benefit from, and contribute to, the lifelong learning
opportunities implicit in this relationship.
remains the world's pre-eminent business school," says Naito.
"Its efforts as a pioneer in areas such as IT, corporate governance,
product innovation, curriculum modernization, as well as its
drive to internationalize, have allowed expertise to spread
from the school to current students, and to its alumni."
commitment includes contributing to the Kellogg knowledge
base through an Eisai partnership with the school that creates
real-world educational opportunities for its MBA students.
The firm has worked with Kellogg faculty to devise a practicum
that brings students behind the scenes to understand the company's
strategy and markets. The course also introduces students
to the firm's "Human Health Care" initiative, begun by Naito.
Some 150 "HHC projects" exist at the company to encourage
its 8,000 employees to join efforts — such as visiting
Alzheimer's clinics — that help them understand the
Kellogg students and faculty to such corporate culture offers
the school "significant feedback from real business sectors,"
empirical data that can "further propagate ... knowledge creation,"
while giving students the power to dig deeper and understand
markets outside the United States, says Naito.
credits the Kellogg leadership for providing the school with
"significant competitive advantages" through their "keen interest"
in real-world business, and especially the school's international
a young scholar coming to America, Naito admits having to
quickly adjust his expectations to succeed at Kellogg.
memory of my Kellogg days was the very first case report I
wrote for my management class," he recalls. "I received a
grade of C-minus and the professor's comment was 'What a poor
paper!' This was actually quite a good start to my Kellogg
life as it gave me the proper impetus to redefine my commitment
in Kellogg style."
memories for the CEO include Professor Philip Kotler's classroom,
benefiting from his social marketing techniques. Also valuable
was the school's insistence that "customer satisfaction is
the sole objective of business," says Naito.
is a strong message that has stayed with me constantly, and
I strive to implement this on a daily basis even now," he
lessons that Naito puts into action at Eisai Co. are founded
on a commitment to problem-solving, and the Kellogg alum says
that the pharmaceutical industry is facing "several very crucial
issues" today, including complex intellectual property rights
concerns, drug access considerations, and the value of the
"big pharma" organizational model.
says the jury is still out on that last point.
is most important for our industry is how well you discover,
how quickly you develop and how stable is your supply of products,"
he says. "The companies that are efficient and productive
will be the final winners."
says its CEO, Eisai plans to be among these elite firms, and
the key to success will be the company's "constant efforts
to improve corporate value" for patients, shareholders and
leadership and philosophy will surely play a crucial role
in these efforts; fortunately for Eisai, his perspective and
dedication seem up to the task.
morning I go to the office, and I'm always in a good mood
because I believe that our company is making valuable contributions,"
he says. "I can lead value creation, and this is the true
joy of my activities."
to Why alumni give back