Japan-born Yukuo Takenaka began his career in the Los Angeles office of KPMG when the so-called Big 8 firms hardly hired minorities. Through persistence, he found success in the industry as a wave of Japanese companies came to the U.S. in the 1980s. In just eight years, Takenaka was made a partner in that firm for having secured prestigious clients like Mitsui Bank, Honda, Mazda, and Hitachi.
In 1989, Takenaka established his own investment banking and consulting firm to focus on mergers & acquisitions and strategic alliances. Nearly 30 years later, Takenaka Partners has grown into a multiservice consultancy firm engaged in investment banking, global strategy consulting, corporate valuation, and business due diligence.
Because of his linguistic advantage, Takenaka grew his network among Japanese companies and advised them on the intricacies of expanding across the U.S. and other parts of the world. A passionate advocate of globalization, he has become the preferred investment banker for Japanese companies wanting to expand in the U.S. market.
As one who witnessed the challenges faced by these Japanese companies, Takenaka has served as the right-hand man that steers them toward success by encouraging CEOs and executives to adopt a global mindset, accept change, and embrace different cultures.
“The biggest challenge for Japanese companies is understanding foreign cultures and knowing how to motivate local colleagues. We educate them on how to overcome cultural differences and to succeed here,” Takenaka explained.
“In the U.S., we focus on the largest and most attractive market in the world and the client’s core business. We show the U.S. as a country where Japanese brands thrive. We encourage Japanese companies to challenge business in America,” he added.
Recently, Takenaka became the first representative from Japan and investment banker to join the Board of Directors of the World Services Group (WSG), a global network of professional business service providers with more than 130 members from 116 countries, including the U.S. His appointment came as the WSG seeks deeper collaboration between companies from the two countries.