Yasushi Kusaka and Keiko Shimada lead Mercer in Japan

01 September 2020 Consultancy.asia 3 min. read
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Global organisation and human resources consulting firm Mercer has installed a new leadership team in Japan. 

As of today, Yasushi Kusaka is Mercer’s new Chief Executive Officer, while company veteran Keiko Shimada has taken the position of Chief Operations Officer. The duo will lead Mercer into what the firm’s regional CEO for Asia Renée McGowan describes as the “the next stage of growth.” 

“In the past 42 years, Mercer’s business in Japan has been on a remarkable journey,” she said, adding that domestic operation has been relatively immune to the Covid-19 induced downturn as the consultancy is seeing heightened demand for its people and organisation expertise.

According to a study by KPMG released on Monday, CEOs now regard people & talent as the top boardroom risk globally, ahead of supply chain and logistics. The finding is notable because last year, people & talent ranked just eleventh in the list of top CEO priorities, illustrating the unprecedented impact Covid-19 is having on people, ways of working and company cultures.

“While the Covid-19 pandemic has brought profound disruption, it has also accelerated human capital transformation and innovation at speeds never seen before,” said McGowan. “Japanese businesses are facing the biggest challenges of their time.”

Yasushi Kusaka, Chief Executive Officer and Keiko Shimada, Chief Operations Officer, Mercer

This is where Mercer comes in. The $5 billion consulting firm helps employers navigate the human capital challenges of Covid-19 – income, health and well-being, retirement, culture and more – and with reimagining strategies to meet the new world of work which is expected to unfold in the post-Covid-19 era.

The firm’s local Japanese offerings are now led by Kusaka, who brings three decades of experience in the financial services and consulting sectors to the firm. He was most recently the Chairman of Japanese fintech startup Robot Fund. Prior to this, Kusaka served as a Partner at EY in Japan, where he oversaw corporate strategy, corporate culture transformation and business development for the Tax division. Earlier, he was the CEO for BNP Paribas Cardif (non-life) in Japan. 

“I am confident that Yasushi’s strong leadership and extensive experience will strengthen our capabilities, further expand our solutions and build on our focus to help clients grow sustainably,” said McGowan. 

Kusaka is flanked by Shimada, who has been with Mercer for eighteen years now. McGowan said, “Keiko has been an incredible asset and is a highly valued member of the team. She brings expertise and deep knowledge of the business as well as a proven leadership track record.”

Shimada has been made responsible for client growth, internal operations and driving transformation within the firm, including pushing for closer collaboration with fellow Marsh & McLennan subsidiaries Oliver Wyman and Marsh. “I’m honoured to be given this new opportunity to accelerate growth and make a meaningful difference for our clients,” said Shimada. 

In related news in Japan, last month strategy consultancy Bain & Company appointed two new partners.