—Governance for the Realization of “A Theme Park for Security, Health & Wellbeing”—
Q1 As outside directors of the Sompo Group, on what type of viewpoints do you place particular emphasis?
Davis Generally, I try to remain aware of the external viewpoint. I focus on being objective at all times and viewing actual situations in the context of what the ideal situation would be. Not being an internal executive, I am expected to adopt an external viewpoint and provide clear opinions on proposals submitted to me.
Personally, as my position as a faculty member calls for the separation of the personal and the professional, I am particularly aware of the importance of having such a viewpoint. No doubt my two colleagues will have their own particular approaches to achieving the appropriate viewpoint for an outside director.
Nohara As well as remaining aware of maintaining an external viewpoint of the Sompo Group, I focus on cultivating a broad perspective and taking a bird’s-eye view of the Group.
Rather than finding common ground, I believe it is important to offer opinions from a different viewpoint, thereby broadening horizons a little and encouraging appreciation of new perspectives. In this sense, my role is to make the kind of stir that stimulates further discussion.
Another perspective that I am mindful of is, naturally, the significance of the appointment of a woman to my position. I think my being a woman gives me a heightened awareness of certain issues, and I try to offer opinions that will help enhance women’s status.
Yanagida I also take particular care to ensure that I provide evaluations from an external viewpoint. Management decisions are made after due consideration of how the outside world evaluates companies. Taking outside evaluations into consideration is extremely important for companies, which makes
doing so vital for the Sompo Group too. We as outside directors have to adopt an approach of checking whether the Sompo Group’s management decisions make sense from the viewpoint of a third party. In other words, we have to check that such decisions are not being driven by in-house groupthink.
Further, as I chair the Audit Committee, I always focus on whether decisions are reasonable and have been taken based on appropriate procedures pursuant to the principles of management decision-making.
In addition, my approach is affected by the specific characteristics of the Sompo Group. I pay particular attention to the overseas insurance business as it is reforming rapidly and accounts for a significant share of the Group’s business. I also focus on the nursing care & healthcare business, which is in some ways an unusual business for an insurance company to be engaged in.
Davis I believe that outside directors have superiors, namely, the shareholders who delegate responsibilities to them.
Also, I think that reflecting the various policies, positions, and expectations of shareholders is important, which is why I consciously try to represent shareholders’ opinions in discussions.
Nohara Rather than just contributing from an external perspective to the making of in-house decisions, the role of an outside director includes acting as a representative of shareholders and providing supervision and recommendations in relation to the management of a company. I believe that we are in a position to draw on the lessons learned throughout our respective careers and make positive pronouncements based on the experience and specialized knowledge we have garnered. With a view to enhancing the Sompo Group’s value, I provide supervision from a broad viewpoint as well as constructive suggestions.