Mickey’s Voice

Insights from our CEO

  • I've long been a proponent of rules – not for controlling individuals, but for connecting people in an organization through clear principles & shared values

    Re-examining Rules For Success

    Mickey Mikitani, Chairman and CEO, Rakuten, Inc. As countries reopen and work on restarting their economies, we find ourselves in a new world — one where there is much debate about the right way forward. Will we ever return to the way things used to be? Or is the world forever changed? And if so, what is the new normal? We don’t yet have the answers to those questions, but we can start by thinking…

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  • What will the new normal look like? As many of us begin to emerge from the initial stages of pandemic lockdown, it’s clear that we’ll need a new way to think about business.

    Emerging From Lockdown: How Will Business Change?

    Mickey Mikitani, Chairman and CEO, Rakuten, Inc. As many of us around the world begin to emerge from the initial stages of pandemic lockdown, it’s clear that we’ll need new ways to think about business in the months and even years ahead. Yes, re-opening is exciting and a source of optimism for many, but we need to be smart and realize that we are not going back to old ways — at least for a while.…

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  • Advice for executives, managers and team leaders still adjusting to the new work from home reality – especially those who, like me, prefer a physical office space.

    Managing from home: How to lead your team remotely during a pandemic

    Mickey Mikitani, Chairman and CEO, Rakuten, Inc. I’ve always been a big proponent of coming into the office to work. I believe the right office setting can be a strong catalyst for creativity. I even designed our own headquarters to promote collaborative, in-person work. There are few walls in the HQ and none in my office. Whether I’m in Rakuten Crimson House in Tokyo or Crimson House…

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  • In order to prioritize employee safety, Rakuten welcomed this year's new grads with a video conference call featuring a personal message from Mickey Mikitani.

    Rakuten welcomes 2020 new grads with online video conference and remote training due to COVID-19 concerns

    Due to concerns for employee safety arising from the spread of COVID-19, Rakuten postponed the annual spring entrance ceremony planned for the approximately 700 new graduate employees that joined the company on April 1. Instead, Rakuten held a video conference call for this year’s new grads joined in person by Rakuten CEO Mickey Mikitani. In addition to the virtual welcome, Rakuten is one of…

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  • A personal message from Rakuten CEO Mickey Mikitani to the global community, sharing what Rakuten is doing to respond to the COVID-19 situation.

    A message from Rakuten CEO Mickey Mikitani

    Mickey Mikitani, Chairman and CEO, Rakuten, Inc. Many of us are experiencing disruption and anxiety as a result of the spread of COVID-19 and concerns about how this pandemic will evolve. As a global company, Rakuten has a heightened awareness of the potential impact of how COVID-19 is moving around the world and a strong sense of our duty to be a role model with our actions. We have moved quickl…

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  • With Rakuten Fashion Week Tokyo just around the corner, Mickey Mikitani shares the deeper meaning behind his company's involvement in the event.

    Inspired by Rakuten Fashion Week Tokyo: Creativity in Business

    Mickey Mikitani, Chairman and CEO, Rakuten, Inc. Next month, Rakuten Fashion Week Tokyo returns to the city, showcasing great designers and the fruits of their inspirational creativity. When I met fashion icon Anna Wintour in New York recently, I didn’t mention that I won a “best dresser” award last December in Japan. (True story! Although it’s a bit ironic considering I almost always wear…

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  • Although technology allows us to communicate all the time, it is often face-to-face conversation that drives the most profound change.

    The Power of Conversation

    Mickey Mikitani, Chairman and CEO, Rakuten, Inc. Who did you talk to today? I don’t mean via email or social media or even on the phone. I’m thinking about face-to-face conversations: You can look into the other person’s eyes, hear the tone of their voice and see their body language. Conversations that took some time and space in your busy day. Whatever that conversation was — with a collea…

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  • Leaders go first

    “That will never work. It’s crazy!” I hear it a lot. Even as CEO, there are plenty of times when someone looked at me and told me that the thing I’ve just said — a deadline, a goal, a new idea — is simply nuts. I’m used to it. What’s more, I have a tried-and-true plan to combat it. Whenever I propose an outlandish idea, I volunteer to go first. So when I announced to my Tokyo-based company in 2010…

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  • The Empowerment Solution

    The first moment I truly understood empowerment, I was watching an early Rakuten team member start his day. We were young entrepreneurs and this was the late 90s. I was most likely wearing an oversized shirt of some kind (as was the look at the time). He was at his desk, reading the Wall Street Journal ⁠— not the paper copy he used to have to wait to have delivered from the Tokyo airport, a day af…

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  • Walk Together: A message for our times

    In Japanese, the word “rakuten” means optimism. This outlook is the cornerstone of our brand. For everyone in the Rakuten group, optimism holds a special meaning. It’s a shared understanding that through our work today, we can make the future better ⁠— not just for us, but for everyone. “Everyone” means all people, not limited to company employees, customers or shareholders. As Rakuten…

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