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PANEL DISCUSSION: Shining a Light on Japan’s Corporate Governance Issues – Ghosn/Nissan

March 7, 2019 @ 5:30 pm - 8:00 pm

$15 – $20


Corporate Governance in Japan has been a hot topic over the past several years as it was a key pillar of Abe’s Third Arrow. Japan’s Corporate Governance Code was implemented in 2015 with the hopes of providing for better functioning boards through greater independence and diversity, encouraging effective engagement with investors, and encouraging efficient capital allocation (among other objectives). 

The November arrest of former Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn has sparked additional discussion on corporate governance issues facing Japan including (i) CEO accountability;  (ii) the necessity of independence (even more critical when there is a powerful CEO);  (iii) separating roles of CEO and Chairman; (iv) the role of compensation and nomination committees/value of separate committees; and (v) as well as executive compensation issues.

We will use the Ghosn “scandal” as a jumping off point to discuss these issues. Has it encouraged companies to take actions to improve these and other corporate governance issues or will this be passed off as a one-off situation?  What does this mean for investors in Japan as well as Japan’s ability and desire to attract top international talent?

Please come hear our distinguished panelists, featuring Christina Ahmadjian of Hitotsubashi University, Jun Frank of ICS Advisory, and Howard Smith of Indus Capital Partners, to speak about these issues. Tracy Gopal, Founder of Third Arrow Strategies, a consultancy focused on improving corporate governance in Japan, will serve as moderator.

We anticipate that many of our audience members will have significant expertise and interest and we expect a lively discussion.


Panelist Profiles:

Christina Ahmadjian
Professor, Graduate School of Business Administration, Hitotsubashi University

Dr. Christina Ahmadjian is a professor at the Graduate School of Business Administration of Hitotsubashi University in Tokyo, Japan. Her research interests include comparative corporate governance, globalization, systems of capitalism, business groups, and Japanese business and management. Her publications have appeared in journals including American Sociological ReviewAdministrative Science QuarterlyOrganization Science, and California Management Review. She teaches courses including Organizational Behavior, Corporate Governance, Business Research, Leadership, and Global Management. She received an A.B., magna cum laude, from Harvard University, an MBA from Stanford University Graduate School of Business, and a PhD at the Haas School at the University of California at Berkeley. Prior to her position at Hitotsubashi, she was an assistant professor at Columbia Business School. Her business experience includes positions at Bain & Company as well as Mitsubishi Electric. She served as a non-executive director at Eisai Co., Ltd. from 2009 to 2013 and currently serves as a non-executive director at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Japan Exchange Group, and Sumitomo Electric Industries. She is an American citizen and has lived in Japan for 23 years.


Jun Frank
Executive Director, ICS Advisory, North America and Asia

Jun Frank is an Executive Director in the ICS group of Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS). He advises clients based on the West Coast and Asia on corporate governance, executive compensation, shareholder engagement, and environmental and social matters. Jun brings with him unique experience, having served in research leadership roles at two of the world’s largest proxy advisers, ISS and Glass Lewis. Prior to joining ICS in 2015, Jun was a member of ISS’ Global Policy Board and headed its Asia ex-Japan research, overseeing the proxy advisory service and policy developments for the region. Prior to ISS, he served as Director of Asian Proxy Research at Glass Lewis where he managed corporate governance research on Asian companies beginning in 2005.


Howard Smith
Partner, Indus Capital Partners LLC

Howard Smith is a partner of Indus Capital Partners LLC. He is the sole fund manager of the Indus Japan Long Only Fund and the co-manager of the Indus Japan (long/short) fund with AUM of ~$2.0bn. Howard has been heavily involved in recent efforts to improve corporate governance and capital efficiency among portfolio companies, submitting proposals to companies including Olympus, Sony, Coca-Cola Bottlers Japan, Showa Denko, Taiheiyo Cement, Haseko and Ebara.  He has presented at numerous forums, including the Keizai Doyukai and working groups at the Japanese FSA. Howard recently relocated San Francisco after spending over 25 of the past 30 years in Japan. He graduated from the University of York in the UK in 1988 with a BA in Economics/Statistics and obtained an MSc in Economics from Birkbeck, University of London, in 1996. He is a CFA charterholder and a fluent speaker of Japanese.


Tracy Gopal (Moderator)

Founder, Third Arrow Strategies

Tracy Gopal is the founder of Third Arrow Strategies, a corporate governance consultancy dedicated to fostering independent, skills-based boards of directors who are well-trained in corporate governance and director responsibilities, and progressively approaching the critical issues of collaboration with shareholders and workforce diversity. Prior to founding Third Arrow Strategies, she advised companies on transactions, including mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, and financial restructurings – primarily with Ernst & Young and GCA Global. Tracy transitioned to the governance field, working with ISS, as the Head of Finance/Accounting Governance Research. Tracy earned her BA in Economics from the University of Michigan in 1992 and her MBA from the Duke University Fuqua School of Business in 1998. She is a CFA charterholder and fluent in Japanese.


5:30 – 6:00 p.m.: Registration and Networking
6:00 – 6:05 p.m.: Welcome
6:05 – 7:15 p.m.: Panel and Q&A, Moderated by Tracy Gopal
7:15 – 8:00 p.m.: Networking Reception

Event venue generously provided by TOTO Concept 190.


March 7, 2019
5:30 pm - 8:00 pm
$15 – $20


TOTO Concept 190
190 King Street
San Francisco, CA 94107 United States
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