Global tire manufacturer Bridgestone has always had an eye on the future. When Shojiro Ishibashi founded the company in Japan in 1931, he used an English translation of his surname for the name of the company, anticipating its expansion to a global brand.
Today, as the industry enters a new and disrupted phase, the company and its leadership still have one eye firmly on the future. “We are in the midst of radical change: politics, economy, society, people's lives, and our businesses,” says Masaaki Tsuya, Chairman of the Board, CEO and Representative Executive Officer. “In the automobile industry, it’s a ‘once-in-a-100-years revolution’.”
For Masaaki Tsuya, these changes represent significant growth opportunities for those who are prepared to innovate their business model. The introduction of CASE (Connected, Autonomous, Shared, Electric) technologies has created a new set of opportunities for automotive companies. “There will be opportunities for companies who develop new technologies, business models, and innovations to grow,” he says.
Forging alliances and innovative partnerships with start-ups will be critical in seizing those opportunities. “In 2018, we jointly established ‘TireHub’, a distributor of passenger and light truck tires in the US, with Goodyear,” explains Masaaki Tsuya. “Establishing a joint venture with Goodyear, one of our competitors, would have been unthought of ten years ago. We need to know when to stick to our own way and when to do it differently and collaborate with other companies in a dynamic manner. This will include more relationships with startup companies with new technologies.”
This sort of approach reflects the culture and philosophy of Bridgestone, which is to always be on the front-foot. “If a hundred out of a hundred people say something is good, it’s more likely it’s in fact ordinary. That's because you are not doing things differently and taking a risk. Consumer perspectives and behavior are changing at an accelerated pace, and we need to change quickly. A company cannot survive without anticipating the future and having a pioneer mindset.”
One thing that has not changed significantly is Masaaki Tsuya’s belief in what a CEO needs to succeed. “I use ‘VIP’ to express the minimum requirements for leaders, which stands for Vision, Integrity, and Principle,” he says. “Vision shows where the company is heading and you cannot lead without one. In order to be a leader, you need to decide what Principles are fixed and unchanged and which situations allow for realistic, practical, and flexible compromises. And Integrity connects these two together, as leaders need to have integrity and be unwavering in their purpose.”
Throughout this document, “we”, “KPMG”, “us” and “our” refer to the network of independent member firms operating under the KPMG name and affiliated with KPMG International or to one or more of these firms or to KPMG International.
The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the interviewees and survey respondents and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of KPMG International or any KPMG member firm. KPMG’s involvement is not an endorsement, sponsorship or implied backing of any company’s products or services.