TradeBriefs Editorial

From the Editor's Desk

Tokyo's Internet Jesus Uses Secret Creed to Command 101 CEOs

Masatoshi Kumagai was a high school dropout whose conglomerate now dominates cloud computing in Japan - and he has an unusual approach to management.

Beside Tokyo's bustling Shibuya train station lies a sprawling set of offices, where a high school dropout watches over his many disciples. Over three decades, Masatoshi Kumagai has built his internet business into a vast empire. Today he presides over 102 companies, led by himself and 101 different chief executive officers.

To keep his people focused on the same goals, the founder, chairman, and president of GMO Internet Inc. uses a private creed he calls GMO-ism. It's a set of values and philosophies he's been crafting since 1995. "It's like a religion," Kumagai says in a Zoom interview. Clad in a white GMO-branded T-shirt, the 57-year-old looks at least a decade younger. "The heads of each business are the priests. And in that example, I guess I'm Jesus Christ."

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