Thursday, June 25, 2015

PR guru Mitsushige Tsuruno: Julie will be out, in any event

Mitsushige Tsuruno.

In a June 24 column in the Japan edition of the Huffington Post, Mr. Tsuruno outlines why he thinks Julie Hamp's future career will be, as it were, "permanently vitiated." 
 Here is a slightly rushed translation of the relevant part of the column. Most of the column discusses the high level of PR professionalism of Toyota's initial response to the crisis and the severe constraints on the company's subsequent statements. But then Mr. Tsuruno turns to the matter of Julie's future prospects with Toyota. 

(The source Japanese is appended below. Mr. Tsuruno has written more, I hope to translate tomorrow.)[update: it turned out not to be interesting enough to forget it. If someone makes a nice donation I might change my mind.]
"4. The Managing Director is out in any event--
     At the press conference, Toyota ably conveyed the message that it somehow hopes to protect Ms. Hamp. Even though Mr. Toyoda expressed his belief that Ms. Hamp 'had no intention to break the law,' unfortunately, Ms. Hamp will be out of a job.
    If for some reason Ms. Hamp had a health issue that caused her to use oxycodone in the US as an analgesic, and if she were an ordinary foreigner who knew little and was not aware of Japanese law, she would have had an excuse. 
However, she is the top of global public relations of a global company.
    If someone works in public relations a few years, even as a non-manager, and they do not acquire an awareness of legal risks, they are not considered suitable to the nature of this work.   Even more, she is regarded as an excellent person by Toyota's president, with a strong awareness. Most especially, when handling a drug to which addiction has become a social problem in the U.S., it is unreasonable to think that she did not know that a proper procedure was necessary.
    If going through the procedure to legally import the drug was cumbersome, she will be out because of compliance aspects.
     Of course she will be out if she intended to smuggle. She will be out if she is addicted.
     Even if she had no intent to break the law, from the point of view of the lack of risk awareness, in any event, she is completely out as a public relations officer.
    If Toyota wants to appear as its ideal, a "truly global company," I want them to decide on a way to handle that by formulating a consistent policy without any fuzziness.  It has been noted that the company's "face," the top PR officer, the first woman elevated to the position of a Toyota officer, will probably end up leaving Toyota.
    At that time, I want to call on the company, by all means, to decide its appointments as per "the right person in the right place" regardless of nationality or gender, and to not cease growing toward becoming "a truly global company."