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Outside Director's interview

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Outside Director,
Bridgestone Corporation
Scott Trevor Davis

Profile

Scott Davis is from Australia. He graduated from the University of New South Wales, School of Social Sciences in 1982, and completed a graduate degree at Rikkyo University Graduate School of Sociology in 1988. Doctor of Business Administration. He has held positions at the Japan Institute for Labour Policy and Training (JILPT), and served as Professor, International Economics, Department of International Economics at Reitaku University. He has been Professor of Department of Business Administration at Rikkyo University since April 2006.

Dr. Davis specializes in strategic management and CSR. He has served as Management Advisory Committee Member for Integrex Inc. (June 2001 – April 2008); Outside Director of Ito-Yokado Co., Ltd. (May 2004 – May 2006); Outside director of Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Holdings, Inc. (current Sompo Holdings, Inc.) (since June 2004); Outside Director of Seven & i Holdings Co., Ltd. (since September 2005); External Auditor of Nissen Holdings Co., Ltd. (since March 2006); and Outside Director of Bridgestone Corporation (since March 2011). He provides advice and suggestions on ensuring the adequacy and appropriateness of decision-making by the Board of Directors from the perspective of business management and CSR.

Governance for “Serving Society with Superior Quality”

Bridgestone is never satisfied with “good enough,” and is constantly searching for a better way, and to continuously improve. This attitude is not limited to governance. In all of its business activities, Bridgestone places great importance on how best to realize its corporate philosophy of “Serving Society with Superior Quality.”

For example, Bridgestone actively utilizes its Corporate Governance Code as a tool for confirming that initiatives are proceeding in the right direction. Through the Corporate Governance Code Report, the company informs stakeholders about the status of the various strengthening and improvement measures implemented in the prior year, while promotes dialog with various stakeholders. While some companies take a passive stance toward their corporate governance codes, Bridgestone considers theirs a positive opportunity to rise higher.

I sometimes hear it said that instilling a sense of corporate governance in management is a challenging task. This is not an issue at Bridgestone, however, because of the shared goals. The function of an independent outside director is often compared to applying the accelerator or brake, but in Bridgestone’s case it is decisively different.

Bridgestone’s directors, through various information-sharing bodies and opportunities for communication with executive and corporate officers, function as team riding in the same vehicle, sharing the same continually updated road map. In a dramatically changing business environment, with independent outside directors drawing on broad-ranging knowledge and experience, all the team members are working to ensure a safe and comfortable journey. This is also one of the strengths of Bridgestone’s governance.

“Our Way to Serve” is still developing – the journey to rise higher continues

CSR is a strategy and an investment. It needs to be made continually stronger. Bridgestone announced its new CSR commitment, “Our Way to Serve,” in 2017. This new structure replaces the previous CSR “22 Focus Points” and is by no means the final edition. Rather than creating a brilliant CSR framework, Bridgestone is seeking to establish a framework that continues to support brilliant CSR.

The primary difference between “Our Way to Serve” and the 22 Focus Points is that in contrast to the “push” style of striving to be the best in all 22 categories, the new framework utilizes a “pull” approach that encourages each division and region to find the issues that affect them and find their own solutions.

Moving forward, Bridgestone Group will need to consider how globalization impacts its organization. The term itself has not changed, though its nuance varies with the era. What is needed now to be global? And how should it be expressed to reflect Bridgestone’s DNA? Is it Bridgestone as a coherent whole of various companies and regions, or are there synergies in a different dimension altogether? At this point, not everything is clear.

At the same time, Bridgestone is working to offer solutions to address the issues faced by its customers and society. What should be Bridgestone’s approach, and what framework should it have to achieve this? What sort of governance is necessary? Bridgestone will continue its never-ending journey to “serve society with superior quality.”