Introduction of the interviewee: Tony Cha, previously a CFO at Walmart Japan, has extensive experience in Japan as a financial leader.
Currently at Air Liquide Japan, overseeing Finance & Accounting in both Japan and Korea, he also oversees IT, General Affairs among other functions and manages more than 50 people.
What is the current situation of your business?
Simply put, Good. The last couple of years there has been both sales and profit growth. We are currently hiring in double digits from college grads to higher level roles. Meanwhile, we are planning to build a new R&D center in Yokosuka to ensure further growth through our innovative and ever growing product line. We are also globally very optimistic and are aggressively acquiring new assets.
Can you tell us about your role and objectives in the company?
As a CFO I overlook Finance & Accounting, IT, GA and FP&A. My objective is to deliver business results by managing profit & and balance sheet, having solid internal controls and digitalizing the company through our IT team.
Where is the company headed in the next five to ten years?
In the next five to ten years we are aspiring to become the clear industry leader in the gas industry globally and locally by using innovative technology and financials. We are still in process to adapt the latest innovations from our global network.
What challenges do you foresee in that journey?
One of the biggest challenges for us is to find the right people. We are looking for talent who can execute the above mentioned strategy and have a global mindset. Most of the companies in Japan in our industry are very domestic, and as we have an international culture, it has proven difficult to find people to fit this culture while having the right skills.
How, in your opinion, can these be overcome?
We need to get leaders involved, including myself, to drive our recruitment processes hands-on to make sure we get the right people in our company to drive our global growth from Japan. As much as HR, leaders also bear the responsibility to bring in the right people and deliver the right message for the prospective talent.
As a leader, what do you think is the most important quality?
Setting a positive tone while building the overall organization is extremely important. This guarantees a healthy and organic growth for our company. I try to play an active part in this as much as I can, while taking care of other managerial and financial tasks.
What causes stress for you? How do you deal with it?
Lack of progress creates stress. It is also important not to micromanage certain areas which other managers are perfectly capable of taking care of. To deal with the stress I find the overall positive setting to be very helpful. While still solving these minor problems, we can eventually laugh them off and eventually improve ourselves. Humor helps a lot!