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BCCJ holds Digital General Meeting, Elects Executive Committee 2021-2022
On April 27, the British Chamber of Commerce in Japan hosted its Digital General Meeting 2021. This was an online adaptation of the usual Annual General Meeting (AGM) as the chamber continues to take necessary precautions against the spread of Covid-19.
Opening remarks were given by BCCJ Executive Director, Lori Henderson MBE who, having recently returned to work after maternity leave, acknowledged a year of accelerated transformation, unprecedented challenge, and interesting opportunity for all members and the wider world.
Lori gave thanks to the BCCJ team – Senior Adviser, Graham Davis, and Associate Director, Sarah Backley who, she said, had ably led the chamber through the “choppy waters” of the past year – along with Sam Maddicott and Sanae Samata, “the engines of the BCCJ”. Lori also offered sincere thanks to BCCJ Platinum members for their unwavering support during the pandemic, “without our Platinum companies we could not reach our aspirations and ambitions”.
Associate Director Sarah Backley followed by launching an interactive word cloud using Sparkup, where members were invited to cite their favourite BCCJ highlights from the past year. Sarah reflected on a series of new Chamber engagement initiatives designed to promote, connectivity among members and the UK-Japan business world, including “Feature Fridays”, “Member Pulse” and “Virtual Coffees”. She also thanked everyone who’d contributed to the success of the British Business Awards 2020, the chamber’s first ever digital gala, which was held online in November 2020.
President’s Annual Report
In his President’s Report, BCCJ President David Bickle presented successes and developments from chamber year 2020-2021. He reminded members that the chamber’s fundamental purpose is to help them make great connections with people who matter, and then went onto highlight a showreel of distinguished speakers who have participated in the 42 BCCJ events hosted over the past 12 months.
He continued, “To realise our goals, we continue to focus on 3 main pillars and corresponding conviction positions under Chamber vision project BCCJ 5.0. Firstly, Digital-Technological Innovation, which is playing an accelerated role in business growth; secondly, Responsible Business, which has become an existential concern for the global community; and thirdly, Diversity and Inclusion, sprurred on by our genuine desire to create more inclusive workplaces.”
David then highlighted the signing of the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between the UK and Japan in October 2020, as well as the UK’s application to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) in February 2021 – both key agreements that will shape and strengthen a new UK-Japan business eco-system.
He also pointed to a year of growth for the chamber’s communication activities, where digital platforms have enabled member-to-member networking and the ability for member companies to connect with leading experts and thought-leaders from across the globe. He was particularly pleased to note that the BCCJ’s YouTube channel had enjoyed a massive spike in views, jumping recently to over 700 hours of watched BCCJ content. David said the chamber’s events and commmunication initiatives were directed towards a new focus on people and storytelling.
Finally, David thanked the outgoing BCCJ Executive Committee who served all members during past year – albeit from behind a ZOOM lens.
Welcoming the 2021-2022 Executive Committee
After a Q&A session, BCCJ Executive Director, Lori Henderson proceeded to welcome the 2021-2022 Executive Committee.
**First-time members are bolded**
Alison Beale, University of Oxford Japan Office
David Bickle, OBE, Deloitte Tohmatsu Tax Co. (candidate for President)
Edward Weeks, HSBC
Heather McLeish, Ernst & Young
Iain Ferguson, Lloyd’s Japan Inc.
James Dodds, KPMG
James Nepalsingh, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
Junko Kubokawa, Croda Japan K.K.
Ken Katayama, Individual Member
Kentaro Kiso, Barclays Securities Japan Ltd.
Richard Lyle, Intralink K.K.
Sarah Everitt Furuya, Sarah Furuya Coaching
Sven Palys, Yuzu Kyodai
Takuji Okubo, Economist Corporate Network
Tove Kinooka, Global Perspectives K.K.
Lori also gave thanks to Chris Heffer from the British Embassy Tokyo, and Matt Knowles of the British Council Japan, who will continue to serve as ex-officio members of Excom.
Of the above, David Bickle indicated his willingness to serve for his eighth term as President of the Chamber and Chair of the Executive Committee, and he was elected to this position by acclamation of the meeting.
The Year Ahead
David closed the DGM 2021 by saying that BCCJ members could look forward to a “defining year ahead”, featuring among other events the G7 (June 11-13), Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics (July 23 – September 5), and COP26 (November 1-12).