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Good Risks: Discovering the Secrets to ORIX's 50 Years of Success

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Praise for GOOD RISKS

"Few companies have been as successful at globalizing as ORIX. They have expanded not only geographically, but also across a number of business lines, all the while leveraging their core skills and values to create a coherent group identity. Their 50-year history of localizing operations, particularly in Asia, is almost a playbook for companies everywhere with global ambitions."
—Rike Wootten, President, KK Gotairiku Partners; former Governor, Osaka Securities Exchange

"This book not only examines a unique international firm, but also highlights the accomplishments of one of the most outstanding men in Japanese business, ORIX Senior Chairman Yoshihiko Miyauchi. I was fortunate to get to know Mr. Miyauchi personally when I served as New Zealand's Ambassador to Japan from 2007 to 2012. Fifty years ago Mr. Miyauchi helped to start a company with just 12 other people, and is the key person responsible for building it into a global financial giant with 26,000 employees, over US$13 billion in annual revenue, and approximately $300 billion in assets under management. His story, and the story of ORIX, are worth the attention of anyone with an interest in global business."
—Ian Kennedy, former New Zealand Ambassador to Japan

"Russell's book is not only a quick and enjoyable read, but also a walk down memory lane. The challenges, opportunities, and even the failures that he chronicles as ORIX expands and prospers are intertwined with the history of global finance in the latter half of the 20th century. He lays bare the roots of the ORIX network, which grows like a bamboo plant, extending its geographic and business coverage, then rapidly developing new opportunities when conditions are timely and prudent. Russell's first-person exploration of ORIX's advances into the US, Europe, and Asia is skillfully told. In particular, his relaxed, personal interviews with ORIX executives worldwide reveal the essence of the business by letting the key people tell their own stories. We see how each geographic step leads to another story of prudent risk-taking, entrepreneurial adventure, and trust in ORIX's new partners."
—Paul Hoff, Business Development Director for EDHEC Risk Institute Asia, Japan

"Good Risks is a fascinating insight into the impressive successes of one of Japan's most discreet financial services conglomerates. Too often the financial press writes about big, high-risk moves, yet here Russell celebrates a low-key company that has been quietly building a best-in-class empire (covering various businesses), and has been doing so for decades. Russell shares not just the story behind ORIX, but the culture and philosophy that sets it apart from any modern corporation I've ever studied."
—Arrif Ziaudeen, CEO & Founder, The Chope Group


DAVID W. RUSSELL, President of Russell Communications International, is an author and corporate communications specialist who has lived in Japan on and off for 30 years. He has given seminars and consulted with senior executives at many of Japan's leading corporations. David has authored more than 10 books and dozens of magazine and newspaper articles, including pieces for Forbes, The Economist, and Harvard Business Review. He has received numerous awards, including Best Business & Management Book of the Year in the United States.

Acknowledgments ix

About the Author xi

Introduction 1

Chapter 1: New York, the Money Center 11

A Trusted Advisor 13

A Professional Money Manager 20

Chapter 2: Dallas, the Nerve Center 27

Orient Leasing and ORIX DNA 33

Millions Become Billions 40

A Bicultural Banker as CEO 48

Chapter 3: Dublin, the Flight Center 59

Corporate Culture 65

What Makes Us Special 71

Chapter 4: Sydney, Plus Thoughts on India 81

India: Challenges and Rewards 86

Chapter 5: Singapore, the Gateway to Asia 91

Asian Markets Today and Tomorrow 98

Chapter 6: Tokyo, the Global HQ 101

Coming Home to Japan 102

Inside Story 107

Chapter 7: Getting the Background 113

American Seeds, Japanese Soil 119

Why Can’t We Do This Overseas? 123

Chapter 8: ORIX Hits a Home Run 127

Quality in Services = Equality at Home 129

Chapter 9: China, a Learning Experience 135

The Chinese Ex?]Bureaucrat 136

The Japanese Ex?]Manager 140

The Real China Story 143

Chapter 10: The President on Strategy 147

Finding a Comfort Zone 149

China: No One to Blame but Ourselves 151

Korea: Diff erent Challenges 154

The Business of Energy 155

From Localization to Global Expansion 159

Chapter 11: Meeting the DNA 165

A Journey Above the Clouds 169

Hits and Misses 174

Today and Tomorrow 179

Chapter 12: Baseball Friends 185

Epilogue 193

Two Quibbles about This Book 194

What Is the ORIX Way? 196

Index 199