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photo :Toshiaki Higashihara President & CEO

In my CEO Message in last year's Integrated Report, I made a commitment that Hitachi would accelerate future growth and I invited all stakeholders to "keep watching Hitachi as we shift into high gear to leap ahead" as "an Innovation Partner for the IoT era." Over the past year, we have made progress toward realizing our goals. We have downsized or exited unprofitable businesses while revising our business portfolio. At the same time, we have focused on globally developing the Social Innovation Business, based on digital technologies that utilize Lumada in ways that harness the strengths of Hitachi. We have also taken steps to accelerate the pace of collaborative creation in partnership with customers.
Our performance in fiscal 2017 set new records in profit terms, with adjusted operating income, EBIT, and net income attributable to Hitachi, Ltd. stockholders all posting new highs. We made further progress in globalizing the business, with the ratio of revenues from overseas operations increasing to 50%. In addition, we achieved several of the 2018 Mid-term Management Plan targets for KPIs such as return on assets and cash conversion cycle (CCC) a full year ahead of target. These achievements demonstrate our efforts to satisfy market expectations.
However, we cannot be satisfied with these figures if we want Hitachi to be globally competitive. Having positioned fiscal 2018 as a year of evolution towards becoming a truly global enterprise, we are working to improve profitability and strengthen our business foundation so that we can establish a strong presence as an innovation partner for the IoT era.
It is no simple matter for Hitachi to become a truly global enterprise or to achieve a double-digit adjusted operatingmargin. However, we are making steady progress towards these goals and trying to speed up the actions needed to realize these ambitions.
More than anything, what gives me hope for the future is the changes being made by employees of Hitachi to support growth. My conviction is employee awareness within Hitachi and the attitude towards business processes have both changed significantly over the past few years. Since my appointment as CEO, we have undertaken a variety of policies. For example, introducing the Business Unit system has made employees more aware of the performance of their division and its cash-generation capabilities, which in turn has translated into improved divisional performance and greater individual pride in these achievements. We also have recruited many new employees, especially overseas, who are attracted to Hitachi by virtue both of our philosophy of contributing to society and by the prospects of our Social Innovation Business, which combines growth with efforts to create a sustainable society. These many new colleagues point to our success in communicating Hitachi's corporate philosophy and culture to the world. I continue to hold town hall meetings so that I can communicate my thoughts about Hitachi's direction and goals directly to our employees around the world. I believe we can become even more powerful as a unified team working towards common goals if we can harness the diversity of over 300,000 individuals.
Looking ahead, I am confident we will continue to grow steadily and help realize a sustainable society based on multiple partnerships. Please keep watching Hitachi as we move in this direction.

September 2018
Toshiaki Higashihara President & CEO
Toshiaki Higashihara
President & CEO
Hitachi, Ltd.