Ambassador Andreas BAUM

Andreas Baum was born in 1963 in Zurich, Switzerland. He studied Medicine at the University of Lausanne, where he graduated with a Doctorate in 1989, followed by studies of International Relations and International Economics at the School of Advanced International Studies, John Hopkins University, in Washington D.C., where he obtained a Master of Arts in 1990. In 1991, Andreas Baum joined the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs and was subsequently posted in Bern, Geneva and Ankara, Turkey. He returned to headquarters, where he joined the Political Division (Europe and North America) in 1993 and became Secretary to the State Secretary in 1996. In 2000, he was transferred as Minister and Deputy Head of Mission in Ottawa, Canada. In August 2004, Andreas Baum was transferred to New York, where he served as Minister and Deputy Permanent Representative at the Mission of Switzerland to the United Nations. From 2008 to 2012, Andreas Baum was the Ambassador of Switzerland to Nigeria, Chad and Niger, with residence in Abuja. From 2012 to 2016, he was the Ambassador of Switzerland to Israel with residence in Tel Aviv. From 2016 to 2020, he was the Ambassador of Switzerland to India and Bhutan, with residence in New Delhi. From October 2020, he will take up his position as Ambassador of Switzerland to Japan.

Mr. Naoshi TAKATSU

Managing Partner, North East Asia, IMD business school

Naoshi Takatsu has a BA from Waseda University, an MBA from INSEAD, and studied design at the Kuwasawa Design Institute in Tokyo. Throughout his career, he has advised various Japanese companies regarding globalization: in investment banking (at the Industrial Bank of Japan), in strategy (at BCG), and in HR/HRD/OD areas (at Recruit Holdings). He now consolidates these experiences and supports the Japanese business community through his affiliation with IMD, a Lausanne-based top-ranked business school. He has initiated and managed IMD’s collaboration with various Japanese companies, both in customized and open-enrolment executive-education programs, making IMD a top player in the market. He has shared his knowledge in the areas of global leadership, corporate learning, female leadership, digital business transformation, and corporate governance by means of lectures and publications, and has engaged in dialogues with Japanese leaders in the relevant fields. Next to the region of Japan, he also covers Korea and Taiwan.


Representative Director, Lindt & Sprüngli Japan Co., Ltd. President, Swiss Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Japan SCCIJ

A Swiss national, Mr. Andre Zimmermann has been elected as the new President of the Swiss Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Japan (SCCIJ) in February 2019, after serving on the Executive Committee for many years. He spent most of his career in Japan starting in 1989 as Managing Director for Telekurs Financial. After occupying the positions of Senior Representative for Location Switzerland SECO from 2005 to 2007 and of Managing Director at MATISA Japan from 2007, he took up his current role of Representative Director at Lindt & Sprüngli Japan Co., Ltd. in Mr. Zimmermann has also served on the Executive Operating Board of the European Business Council (EBC). He holds a MBA from York St John University, UK.


Chief researcher, Recruit Works Institute

After previously working for a major bank and a consulting firm, Naoko Ishihara joined the Recruit Works Institute, a research division of Recruit Co., Ltd. dedicated to creating a next-generation society where each individual can work to his or her full potential, in 2001. Her main area of research is human capital management with a focus on talent management, diversity and inclusion, as well as leadership development. Since 2015, she has also assumed the role of editor-in-chief of the magazine Works. Her major literary work is a book she co-authored in 2014 titled Josei ga Katsuyaku Suru Kaisha (Companies Empowering Women).


Director, Delphi Network

Speaking English, Chinese, French and German, Dan Slater holds a degree in Oriental Studies (Classical Chinese) from Oxford University and an MSc in International Relations from the London School of Economics. In 2013 he founded the Delphi Network, a bespoke business-intelligence and relationship-building service based in Tokyo, after having been the director of the Economist Group’s Corporate Network (ECN) for four years. During his time at the ECN, he won a company prize for designing a new program aimed at Japanese staff working with foreign companies, frequently appeared on CNBC and BBC to comment on the political and economic changes, and almost doubled the number of ECN members. Prior to that, he was China Correspondent and Deputy Editor of the region’s leading finance magazine and website FinanceAsia. During his twelve years with FinanceAsia, he followed the rise of China’s private sector, its entry to WTO, the corporatization of its SOE through the Hong Kong stock market, and the impact of its colorful entrepreneurs. He was one of the first reporters to interview Jack Ma of Alibaba long before he became famous. He also uncovered serious wrong-doing by then-president Chen Shui-bian of Taiwan that involved several leading Western banks in the illegal transfer of funds overseas.


Country President Switzerland, Novartis International AG

Matthias Leuenberger studied law at the University of Bern, where he completed his bar exam in 1993 and obtained his doctorate in 1995. He is the current Country President of Novartis in Switzerland. In this function he serves as Chairman of the Executive Committee of Novartis Switzerland, is responsible for the company’s political relations in Switzerland and represents Novartis in the business associations Interpharma, scienceindustries (President), economiesuisse (Vice President) and HKBB (Chamber of Trade and Commerce for Basel-Stadt and Basel-Country). Before joining Novartis, he had spent nine years working for Boston Consulting Group in Zurich and Tokyo. He is married and has three children.

Ms. Chiharu TAKAKURA

Member of the Board of Directors, ROHTO Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. 

Chiharu Takakura joined the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in 1983. As a Fulbright scholar she moved to the US in 1990 to study at Georgetown University, where she earned an MBA. Having joined a consulting company in 1993, she was responsible for advising newly-established companies and companies that had been restructured regarding their organizational and HR development. She successively held senior positions at Pfizer Japan in 1999, Nippon Becton Dickinson Japan in 2004, and Novartis Japan in 2006. She joined Ajinomoto Co., Inc. in July 2014, where she assumed her role in April 2018, engaging in the design and implementation of the global HR system for the company’s global strategy. She occupies her current position since July 2020.   


Head of Human Resources, Adecco Group Japan

Keiko Tsuchiya has an MA in organizational development from the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University. She joined the Adecco Group Japan in 2015 after having held various senior positions including Head of HR at GE Toshiba Silicones (currently Momentive Performance Materials Inc.), Vice President of HR at Johnson & Johnson, and Senior HR Manager at Cisco. As Head of HR at the Adecco Group Japan, she is a driving force behind reforming corporate culture and structure including championing key measures on leadership development, talent development, and the design and implementation of new systems. Being an expert in vision management as well as organizational and human capital development, she has led several organizational transformations during her career. Additionally, she also has extensive experience and a deep knowledge of performance management; recently, she has been studying neuroscience in relation to talent development and personnel systems, and integrates the insights of her studies in the Adecco Group Japan.


Principal, East Ventures

Ryo Umezawa spent ten years in the Philippines prior to studying International Business and Economics at Sophia University in Tokyo. He has been with J-Seed Ventures since 2005, working with several partner companies where he frequently assisted in starting up businesses, marketing and business development. He has experience in the mobile, online-marketing, advertisement, and platform businesses. In 2008, he produced an iPhone app at TrafficGate (Rakuten, Inc.) before founding his own mobile marketing company in 2010. Since 2013, he has served as CEO for Hailo Japan, where he leads the fund raising section that was the first entity globally to independently raise money. Most recently, Ryo has become the national manager for HomeAway and Tinder Japan. Having been involved in more than 30 companies until now, he is currently a venture capitalist at East Ventures, an angel investor in startups and serves as an advisor to a Chinese mobile marketing company. He loves working with startups, and in addition to being an avid blogger, he is a serious networker who constantly meets people and connects them with others. Ryo was selected as a Leaders of Tomorrow at the 40th and 44th St. Gallen Symposium, and one of the first members of the World Economic Forum, Global Shapers Community (GSC) in Tokyo hub, Japan.


Journalist, TV & Radio Presenter

After completing an MA in Financial Journalism from City, University of London (CUL), Chie Ishiyama joined NHK (Japan’s public broadcaster) at its local station in Nagoya, starting her career as a daily local news anchor. In 1998, she was relocated to Tokyo, where she anchored the satellite business show Business Front Line for ten years. She interviewed over 100 CEOs in Japan and abroad including the ones of Sony, Panasonic, Toyota, Fast Retailing (Uniqlo), Amazon, Yahoo, and Siemens. Ishiyama has also focused on women’s work and life. As an anchor of a TBS satellite documentary program, she reported on more than 100 women in various fields, which was later compiled in book about modern Japanese women’s work and life. Since 2008, she has been a radio anchor for NHK.

Mr. Mutsuo IWAI

Deputy Chairman of the Board, Japan Tobacco Inc.

Mutsuo Iwai graduated from the Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo in 1983 and in the same year joined Japan Tobacco and Salt Public Corporation, which was privatized as Japan Tobacco Inc. in 1985. He has been assigned to a wide variety of responsibilities and positions resulting in a wide-ranging business experience, especially in the areas of Corporate Strategy and Business Development. After being appointed as Chief Strategic Officer of JT, he was selected as Deputy CEO for JT International, which operates JT’s international tobacco business in over 120 countries and is located in Geneva, Switzerland. He was the Representative Director, the Executive Vice President, and the President of JT’s tobacco devision from 2016 to 2019. He is also a member of the board for the Aspen Institute of Japan.

Ms. Miki KANOH

Executive Officer, Group Head of Corporate Affairs Group, Nestlé Japan Ltd.

After graduating from university, she worked for customer services in a non-life insurance company. She started her career with Nestlé as a temporary employee in Consumer Services in 2000. In 2001, she joined Nestlé Japan, working in its Relationship Marketing division to improve consumer loyalty for Nescafé. In 2005, she participated in the Consumer-Services project at Nestlé S.A. headquarters. After returning to Japan, she was appointed Consumer Services manager in 2006, Media Relations manager in 2008 and External Relations manager in 2015. Assuming her current roles of Executive Officer and Group Head of the Corporate Affairs Group in August 2017, she is now responsible for Corporate Communication to internally and externally build relationships with stakeholders including employees, media, government, experts, NPOs and local communities.

Mr. Alain ROBERT

Vice Chairman, UBS Wealth Management

After receiving his degree in economics from the University of Neuchâtel in 1979, he joined the Union Bank of Switzerland, where he worked in various functions until 1998, both abroad and in Switzerland. In 1997 he was nominated Head of the Geneva region. After becoming a member of the UBS Group Managing Board in 2001, he held various executive positions; between 2007 and 2009 he was Head of Wealth Management & Business Banking Switzerland. Since 2009 Alain Robert has been Vice Chairman Wealth Management & Swiss Bank, responsible for important institutional clients. Next to this he holds several mandates in the worlds of business and culture; he is Chairman of the UBS Foundation for Social Issues and Education (since 2009) and the UBS Culture Foundation (since 2010).

Mr. Raizo SAKODA

President and Representative Director, Hitachi Academy

Joining Hitachi in 1983, Raizo Sakoda has primarily focused his career on HR Management. Starting out as an HR Business Partner, he has gathered experiences in Hitachi’s various businesses such as heavy electric machinery, digital media and ICT before becoming an expert in Compensation & Benefits and Talent Management in Hitachi’s Corporate Headquarter in Tokyo. From 2005 to 2009, he was Vice President for Hitachi Data Systems (currently known as Hitachi Vantara) in the US. When Hitachi launched its Global HR transformation project in 2011, he became its inaugural General Manager of the Global Talent Management division. He was then relocated to Hong Kong, where he worked as the General Manager of the China and Asia Pacific HR Management division to implement Global HR initiatives in 2014. Upon returning to Japan in 2016, he oversaw the Japan HR Management division before becoming President of the Hitachi Institute of Management Development in 2017. In 2019, he became the inaugural President and Representative Director of the Hitachi Academy, which was established by integrating three internally existing corporate-learning institutes to accelerate the digital transformation and globalization of Hitachi.