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Ryuichiro NAKAO (President, Recruit Technologies Co., Ltd.)

He entered the School of Engineering for Practical Learning

“My staff are a bunch of unique, self-reliant engineers. Managing them is tough but fun.”

“People are an important resource for companies. I strive to create a healthy workplace environment for my employees in order to respect individuality in the workplace,” says Ryuichiro NAKAO. In addition to the development and operation of information systems for the Recruit Group, Recruit Technologies Co., Ltd. conducts research to apply advanced technology, such as utilization of big data, to businesses, with their sights set on overseas development.

Though his studies were science-oriented, Mr. Nakao has been in sales, marketing, and recruiting for years. As a high school student, he first encountered superconductors and thought, “Materials are going to change the world. This seems interesting.” Thus he entered the Department of Materials Science at Osaka University’s School of Engineering. He says that being raised in the merchant city of Osaka led him to value practical education over Nobel Prizes.

While at university, he developed an attitude essential in work as well

After entering OU, he joined a soccer team outside of the university and even had a part-time job, but study and research formed the core of his life. He was involved with research joining stainless steel to fine ceramics at high pressures and temperatures. He examined how the joining state changed with varying materials, temperatures, and pressures.

The teachings of his former mentor, Prof. Toshimi YAMANE, still serve him today. One of those teachings is “the importance of making a hypothesis and verifying it.” This was thoroughly required of Mr. Nakao and continues to serve him in his business today.

Another one of Prof. Yamane’s teachings was "the importance of presentation.” While most students finished up their graduation theses the day before they were due, Prof. Yamane’s students, including Mr. Nakao, were told to finish theirs a week before the due date in order to practice their presentations. They prepared their presentation materials and recorded their presentation rehearsals on 8 mm film to review how they were seen by the audience. “If you have a good presentation, the content of your thesis [even if it’s similar to everyone else’s] will shine through. This also gives you the confidence to answer questions.” This was Prof. Yamane’s policy. He taught us the importance of preparation, to which I still commit myself."

In a change of fields, he enters Recruit

Mr. Nakao entered graduate school at the top of his class. He considered working as a researcher at a research institute or corporation, but as he interacted with young employees at Recruit Holdings Co., Ltd., where one of his seniors was working, he felt a strong attraction to the company. Young people from his generation were charged with important tasks and spoke with a lot of confidence. He was moved to be told that they would like to work with the real Ryuichiro NAKAO [not because of his academic performances and the university he attended, but because of his personality].”

As a new employee, he was in charge of hiring new graduates for a small import variety goods company. The company wanted to hire 21 individuals in order to start a new project. The president of the company trustfully asked him to hire exactly 21 individuals, saying “Hiring a person more will increase labor costs, but hiring a person less will collapse the idea of establishing business. I want you to hire just enough.” To live up this expectation, he worked hard not just for recruiting but also for making proposals for improving company management by talking with the company’s workers to make the company more attractive for students. The company was able to hire talented human resources, as desired. “I was a novice and had no experience, which may actually have worked to my advantage, I suppose.”

Huge success in the Suumo Counter project

The “Suumo Counter Project” provides free counseling services, such as providing advice on ordering custom-built houses, introducing customers to homebuilders, and offering tips on how to buy new condos. Mr. Nakao became head of the Suumo Counter Promotion Office in 2007.

The project suffered poor performance at first, but Mr. Nakao thought that meeting the customers’ demands should be prioritized above everything else and always introduced customers to multiple construction companies. He also paid attention to who was in charge of sales at each company and asked construction companies for improvements on how to treat customers based on customer feedback surveys. As a result, sales increased 30-fold in just 6 years.

Lifelong friendships built as a student

When he was a student, he rented an apartment near campus with 5 of his friends. But none of them actually lived there; it was used as a place for them to study and talk about life. Even now, he holds a talk with the members of the MOS Club, who  are active in their respective fields in business and R&D, twice a year in the name of “meeting.” They say that the M in MOS stands for “metal,” in their Metallic Material Engineering Department, the O for “Osaka University,” and the S for “six nice guys.” The friendship nurtured at OU provides him with lifetime support. “OU was a wonderful place to study. I want current students to realize how lucky they are to be able to study there. Also, if any readers are interested in the Recruit Group, feel free to contact me.”

• Ryuichiro NAKAO

A 1987 graduate of the School of Engineering, Osaka University, Ryuichiro NAKAO completed the Graduate School of Engineering at OU in 1989 and entered Recruit Holdings Co., Ltd. in the same year. He gathered experience in sales, surveying, research, and project planning, after which became head of the Suumo Counter Promotions Office in 2007. He took his current position as a President and Representative Director at Recruit Technologies Co., Ltd. in April 2013. He maintains his health by walking and going to the gym in order to satisfy his love for wine.

Corporate Information

• Recruit Technologies Co., Ltd. (Grand Tokyo South Tower, 1-9-2 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo)

Established October 1, 2012. Capital stock: 100 million yen. Employees: 321 (As of November 11, 2014). Recruit Technologies primarily undertakes development and provision of IT/networking technology for businesses in the Recruit Group.

This is a reprint of the article posted in the Osaka University NewsLetter No. 66 (December 2014).

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