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Big in Japan: Levent Arabaci on Implementing Culture Change at a Large Japanese Company

October 26, 2016 @ 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm

$5 – $25

In recent years, many of the large firms that historically were the foundation of the Japanese economy have been losing their competitive edge and seen their market shares slipping. Determined to avoid having Hitachi suffer the same fate, CEO Hiroaki Nakanishi decided that it needed to change the way that it managed its people and modernize its HR systems.
That is easier said than done, for a company with nearly 1000 subsidiaries (each with its own separate HR system) and hundreds of thousands of employees worldwide. The company tapped Levent Arabaci, one of the leaders in its U.S. operations, to become EVP of Human Resources at the parent company, and help to lead the HR transformation.
So far the project has involved mapping 50,000 of the company’s managers into a global grading system, which links to compensation and is a step away from the outdated seniority-based wage model. An HR system from Workday was selected and is being gradually rolled out throughout the company. This project has gained significant attention in Japan, and all eyes are on Hitachi to see if its HR transformation will enable it to spur innovation.
Changing the way people are managed and rewarded represents a significant cultural change for Hitachi, and the process has not necessarily been a simple one. This talk will be a rare opportunity to get an inside view of how significant change initiatives can be implemented in a Japanese company, and to hear what it’s like for a non-Japanese executive to take on a key role in making them happen.

leventpicLevent Arabaci
General Manager, Human Capital Division of Hitachi Ltd., and EVP, Chief Human Resource Officer of Hitachi America Ltd.
Levent Arabaci has over 20 years of experience in management and currently serves as the Executive Vice President of Human Resources at Hitachi Ltd. and EVP and CHRO for Hitachi America Ltd. Levent is responsible for driving and executing the HR vision and strategy for Hitachi Ltd. worldwide. Prior to Hitachi Ltd., Levent held senior level positions at Hitachi Data Systems, Cisco Systems Inc., Nestle, and Pepsi Co. in multiple functions such as operations, finance, internal audit and primarily human resources. His unique background brings a business acumen that is unusual among human resources professionals.
Levent holds a Master’s degree in General Management from the University of Istanbul, and a MBA in Marketing from the California State University, San Bernardino. He is a member of various advisory boards and earned awards and recognition for the work he has produced in various positions during his career. The awards include the Best Plan Effectiveness in 2002, and the Best Use of Technology in 2003 from the Global Equity Organization (GEO) for the systems and programs he designed in the field of compensation. He also received the “Global HR Leadership” award from the Asia Pacific HRM Congress in 2008 for his contribution to the HR field and exemplary leadership in the global landscape. In May 2009, Levent has received the “Functional Excellence in HR” from the HR Symposium in the Silicon Valley for the work he produced in the areas of HR Shared Services and business partnership.
During Levent’s tenure, Hitachi Data Systems was recognized as the best place to work in 2009, 2010, and 2012. In addition, HDS was listed on the Fortune 100 “Best Companies to Work For” in 2012, and was recognized as the top 40 “Best Companies for Leaders” in 2012.


  • 6:00 PM – 6:45 PM Networking/Registration
  • 6:45 PM – 8:00 PM Presentation with audience Q&A
  • 8:00 PM – 9:00 PM Networking & Reception

Light appetizers and drinks provided

Purchase Tickets:

Eventbrite - Big in Japan: Levent Arabaci on Implementing Culture Change at a Large Japanese Company

  • No refunds after Wednesday, October 19
  • Online registration closes at 11:00 AM on Wednesday, October 26
  • Walk-ins accepted at $25.00 per person

Japan Society Strategic Partner Event Sponsor

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The event venue has been provided by generous support from:



October 26, 2016
6:00 pm - 9:00 pm
$5 – $25


Japan Society of Northern California
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Morrison Foerster
425 Market Street
San Francisco, CA 94105-2482 United States
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