GSK Japan: Innovation and Inspiration

Written by BCCJ
February 9, 2017

Written by BCCJ
February 9, 2017

On 1 February 2017, the British Chamber of Commerce in Japan (BCCJ) interviewed Philippe Fauchet OBE, President of GlaxoSmithKline K.K. (GSK). GSK is a Platinum Member of the BCCJ.

In November 2016, GSK won the Company of the Year trophy at the 2016 British Business Awards and was recognised for helping people to do more, feel better, and live longer; for advancing innovation, making industry-leading changes to business model and contributing to medical science and Japanese society.

BCCJ: Give me an interesting fact about yourself and your organisation.
Fauchet: Although I studied classical guitar at the music conservatory, I play the electric guitar and although I am left-handed, I play a right-handed instrument. I find it is a wonderful way to relax and to wind down from the pressure of the working day, and I even don’t have to disturb anyone as I have the option to use earphones. As for GSK, if I may use the analogy, we have also departed from the ‘classical business music’ of our industry, and as a result we topped The Fortune ‘Change the World List’ which recognises companies that have made significant progress in sustainable, scalable approaches to addressing societal problems as part of their company strategy. GSK’s ranking reflects the dedication and commitment of our people around the world to modernise the way we do business. We’ve changed how we incentivise our sales professionals, furthered our partnership with Save the Children, gained approval for the world’s first malaria vaccine, opened up access to our intellectual property and committed to widening access to GSK products, no matter where a person lives or what they can afford to pay..

BCCJ: What inspires you?
Fauchet: The future! I like to take a Forrest Gump approach: life is like a box of chocolates! As an optimist and a creative person, I like to look for new ways of doing things. The Japanese idiom “ichi-go ichi-e” (treasure every opportunity) is a message that inspires me and it’s how I like to lead my life.

BCCJ: What are the biggest lessons you have learned in life?
Fauchet: Firstly, the importance of people. Listening to one’s colleagues, avoiding confrontation, and maintaining balance, can make the biggest difference. Pushing one’s own opinions without taking into account the thoughts of others will never deliver good results. Good managers are not machines. Secondly, stay curious, optimistic, and agile – it will keep you young – and as our company slogan says, “Do more, feel better, live longer”.

BCCJ: What does winning a British Business Award (BBA) mean to you personally and for the company?
Fauchet: This is the second time that GSK has won a BBA and each time we have noticed the benefits to the company. It is an honour to be recognised in front of some of the most influential people of the UK-Japan business community in Tokyo . The award is a prestigious endorsement of our organisation’s initiatives and values, and a great motivational boost for the staff, who see the rewards of their hard work in the spotlight.

BCCJ: Would you encourage companies to get involved with the BBA and why?
Fauchet: It is really easy to nominate, it’s free, and it’s an excellent way to gain exposure in the local business community. It’s a wonderful night out, and if your company wins, it’s a big buzz for the team. I would definitely recommend companies get involved.

BCCJ: What do you predict for the year 2017?
Fauchet: I can easily predict changes around the world and in our industry in Japan, but this offers great scope for opportunity and innovation, too.