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01/19/2010

�Amoeba Management� Guru�s Compelling Story

Japan Airlines has picked one of its country�s most revered entrepreneurs as new CEO, to lead its restructuring. Kazuo Inamori, 78, is well known in Japan for a rags-to-riches story that includes the founding of two blue-chip Japanese companies: electronics component maker Kyocera Corporation, and telecommunications carrier KDDI Corporation.

Inamori broke the mold of the typical Japanese salaried-man, when upon retirement at 65 he became a Zen Buddhist monk. An author of eleven books about his life and executive experience, Inamori champions a management philosophy that blends religious teachings (Respect The Divine And Love People) with business clich�s (Maximize Revenues And Minimize Expenses).

He advocates a management philosophy known as �amoeba management,� a method of dividing the company into small, self-contained units all working toward common goals. Each �amoeba� (unit) makes its own plans and must be fiscally self-sustaining with definable revenue.

What makes Inamori�s story so compelling in Japanese business circles, is that he managed to be successful without many of the connections and family ties that helped many of Japan�s postwar entrepreneurs. He was born into poverty; his family home and his father�s printing shop were destroyed in World War II air raids. In that year, at 13, he contracted tuberculosis, which was considered a death sentence at the time.

Inamori ranks 28th on Forbes� �40 Richest Japanese� list, with an estimated net worth of $920 million.



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