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CEO Dialogue podcast series

Hiroshi Mikitani

2 March 2023 in CEO Dialogue podcast series

Rakuten CEO Mickey Mikitani tells IMD President Jean-François Manzoni how – by challenging conventional wisdom and encouraging all staff to tidy their own offices – he has grown his company from an...

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Twenty-six years ago, Mickey Mikitani quit his position at the Industrial Bank of Japan – an unusual move in the traditional world of Japanese corporate culture. Even more surprisingly, he left not to join another large institution but to pursue an idea he had for an e-commerce startup. 

Today, from humble beginnings with just six employees and a single server, his idea has mushroomed into Rakuten (meaning optimism in Japanese), a business ecosystem with 31,000 employees and revenues last year of about $15bn.  

In conversation with IMD President Jean-François Manzoni, Mikitani describes his journey; and how an e-commerce startup grew into an online giant, spanning internet services, fintech, and mobile.


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