Exclusive outtakes from industry leaders
from Clare Baldwin:
Takeo Sumino, chief operating officer of Nomura Holding America Inc, wants to make one thing clear: neither he nor his Tokyo colleagues are into the habit of breaking into song first thing in the morning at the office.
A Wall Street Journal story in July said that one group of Nomura traders sang a company song in morning meetings.
“Japan created the video game, Japan has created the karaoke culture, but that does not necessarily mean that Nomura as a company will ask people to sing a song every day,” he said, trying to debunk reports of culture clashes between Nomura bankers and their new colleagues at the former Lehman Brothers empire in Asia and Europe.
“I worked in Nomura for 22 years. I never sang a song in the morning,” he said. “If you want to sing a song or listen to my song I can take you to karaoke, but you don’t need to come to my office because I don’t sing a song.”
Nomura’s takeover of Lehman Brothers’ European and Asia businesses is yielding results, and concerns the Japanese bank will struggle to marry cultures is misplaced, according to the man who drove the deal.
Enough with the view that the current credit crisis will drag the U.S. into a “lost decade” similar to the one that Japan suffered in the 1990s, says Gary Talarico, managing director of Sun Capital Partners.
Talarico lived in Japan for 12 years and worked with Ripplewood Holdings as an adviser on the hugely profitable Shinsei Bank rescue deal. He says the U.S. is much more willing to take the pain of the crisis and emerge much stronger because of it.
Japan’s strategy to cope with their crisis leaned more to the left, Talarico told the Reuters Restructuring Summit in New York. And because of that, the Japanese economy stagnated for years.
As for what is happening in the U.S. right now?
“Creative destruction is a good way to describe it,” Talarico said in reference to the failure of Lehman Brothers, the buyout of Merrill Lynch and the government takeover of AIG.
“These things have to happen. I’m very sad about Lehman. I worked there for 15 years and I absolutely loved the firm. It’s a possibility that if the government moved faster, they might still be alive today. A lot of things might be different. Unfortunately, it is very hard to see the future.
But things have to fail, he said.
“There is no doubt that reckless things were done. Reckless people have to take their pain. But what we can’t afford is a systemic meltdown. It has global implications as well. So, unfortunately, tax payers have to carry some of that burden.”
To hear Talarico’s view on why the U.S. is not headed for a Japan-style slowdown, click here