Business Today


Under his leadership, focus on premium motorbikes and key launches helped the Japanese giant post growth in a slowing Indian two-wheeler market in FY2018/19.
Team BT | Print Edition: May 5, 2019
Motofumi Shitara, Chairman, Yamaha Motor India Group of Companies (Photograph by AR Sumanth Kumar)

Q. The biggest challenge in your career

A. It happened when the Lehman Brothers collapsed in 2008. At the time, I was associated with Yamaha's marine business. Sales of large-sized boats were rising in the US and we had to set up a new factory to increase the production of outboard motors. But we suffered a huge loss that year due to the meltdown. I was then asked to shift to business planning and rebuild the marine business. We made it profitable next year by thoroughly reviewing the company's internal costs and taking some necessary steps. It is still the most profitable business across Yamaha. The lesson I learnt was that adversity could lead to great opportunities.

Q. Your best teacher in business

A. The company itself is my best teacher. Yamaha offers a positive environment so that we can take on new challenges. I have learnt a lot about business strategies from my superiors here. All our employees are ready to face challenges and this spirit is deeply embedded in our company culture.

Q. One management lesson for young people

A. Face new challenges without the fear of failure. To pursue new possibilities, we should explore areas other than where our expertise lies and continue to learn with dedication and determination. If we do so, nothing can hold us back from achieving our goals. Of course, we may not succeed, but when the goal is clear, the reason for failure will be clear, and we can prepare ourselves by using our experience.

Q. Two essential qualities a leader must have

A. You must have a clear vision and must select the right option. When your mind is made up, do not give up until the goal is fulfilled.

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