The role of investor relations (IR) is to keep shareholders and investors informed so that they can make investment decisions with confidence. Through that, the value of the company can then be evaluated appropriately. When challenging situations arise, its true merit is put to the test.
Successfully navigating an unprecedented acquisition with Integrity at heart.
Having previously worked in accounting, internal control system creation, and public relations (PR), I joined the IR team five years ago. Through my personal experience of working in these positions, I have developed a deep understanding of Takeda’s dynamic, global corporate activities.
For example, while I was working in PR, Takeda changed direction quite significantly, moving to a strategy of integrating growth areas from around the world with the acquisition of the U.S. firm Millennium Pharmaceuticals in 2008, and the Swiss-based company Nycomed in 2011. In 2014, Christophe Weber, who had been working for GSK, was appointed President, and then finally, in 2019, Takeda acquired Shire, a world leader in the field of rare diseases, for more than 6 trillion yen ($56 billion).
That acquisition was completed as a combination of a cash payment as well as a share exchange in the form of the issuing of new shares, a method that was more or less unprecedented.
When sharing the details with our shareholders, we felt that our standard approach of just using numbers and information about potential new treatments—the so-called drug pipeline—to explain the reasoning behind the deal, would not be enough. Instead, our team worked together with our executive management team to diligently and carefully explain Takeda’s sustainable growth strategy, which cannot be understood merely in terms of numbers, and clearly show how it is connected to benefits for patients.
At Takeda, we have a set of core values centered on our strong commitment to patients and what we call “Takeda-ism” which guides all of our activities. They state that we work with integrity, fairness and honesty, and a spirit of perseverance. One example I can share of Takeda-ism in practice is when I was working in PR, and it was pointed out that a promotional activity for one of our products was inappropriate. The subsequent press conference was an unusual one in that it lasted for three hours, during which time we answered every last question with integrity. When it came to the Shire acquisition Takeda-ism continued to serve as our guide, and we made sure to apply it to all of our IR duties.
A connection to Takeda that spans generations
I have a personal connection with Takeda. In Kobe City, there is a building called Kansokyo, which is the former residence of the company’s founding family. Kansokyo has the literal meaning of ‘house of the herb master', based on an old mythological tale about the god of medicine. Today, it serves as a historic museum of Takeda, where employees can get a first-hand experience of the origins of the company–its DNA, you could say. The person who named this Western-style building was actually my great-grandfather, who was a scholar of east-Asian studies. Apparently, he was friends with the fifth and sixth generation owners of Takeda, both of whom were named Chobei Takeda. I first heard about this when I told my grandmother I was joining the company. Now, several generations later, it’s my role to communicate information about Takeda, and I feel this personal connection deeply.
Many people in Japan see Takeda as a long-established, domestic pharmaceutical manufacturer. But in reality, following significant changes in structure and scale, especially over the past decade, it’s now a truly global company with a significant proportion of revenue generated overseas and an international workforce. In the IR team we have people from a wide variety of backgrounds, such as securities and R&D professionals. But regardless of background, all of us take care to follow in the footsteps of our predecessors, working with integrity and embodying the true spirit of the company in all that we do. Having stuck to these values since joining the company, I do feel like a so-called “Takeda professional,” and this feeling is further strengthened by my historical family connection.
Recently, I found my great-grandfather’s name mentioned in a history of Takeda’s first 200 years. This made me wonder if perhaps, in a little over a decade from now when Takeda celebrates its 250th anniversary, it might be me compiling the 250-year history… Secretly, I do hope it is so that I can continue to deepen my connection with the company.
These are the words of the Ancient Greek philosopher Socrates. I think it is important to understand one’s ignorance and to then uncover the truth in one’s own way.
Having previously worked in the accounting and PR departments, Tokinoya is currently the Associate Director of Investor Relations, Global Finance. He enjoys the company culture in which ideas can be exchanged freely with colleagues and leaders, including the President, and everyone works hard together as professionals.