AGC North America's Leader Discusses the
U.S. Market and the Future
September 12, 2012
by Penny Stacey, firstname.lastname@example.org
Marehisa "Mark" Ishiko, who was named president and CEO
of AGC Glass Company North America in June 2010, recently took the
time to sit down for an exclusive interview with glassBYTEs.com/AGRR
magazine about his long history in the company's automotive business
and his hopes for the future.
|Marehisa "Mark" Ishiko
GB: Can you tell me a little bit about where you grew up?
MI: I was born in Nagoya, the fourth largest city in
Japan. My mother's house is around 20 miles from Nagoya. I graduated
from Yokahama National University in 1982, where I had specialized
in chemical engineering. After graduating, I joined AGC the same year30
years ago. I first worked as an engineer for the automotive glass
division in Japan. I supported the new technology process and advanced
process and quality improvement group. I moved to Europe in 1991.
AGC was constructing a new automotive glass plant in Belgium, and
I was the chief engineer over this project. We stayed in Belgium for
five years where I continued to supervise production, technology and
I then returned to Japan in 1996 and in 2000, I moved to the AGC
headquarters in Tokyo as director of our Japan/Asia-Pacific automotive
business. In 2007, I became the regional president of automotive
business in Japan/Asia-Pacific. Just three years ago, I moved to
the flat glass division. And in the middle of 2009, I took over
both auto and flat glass when I became the regional president of
the glass business in Japan/Asia-Pacific. In 2010, I came here to
the United States and I became president and CEO of AGC Glass Company
North America. I also serve as a senior executive for the global
AGC Group. I have a long, long history in at AGC from 1982 to now,
so this is my career [chuckles].
GB: What differences have you seen since moving from automotive
to flat glass?
MI: In automotive, the customer is very demanding. The demands
of the automakers in Japan are very exact. They want quality, they
want servicethey want everything. The challenge to meet or
exceed these demands also provides great opportunity.
GB: You took over in the midst of an economic downturn in
the United States. Has this affected the way you lead the company?
MI: I understand the economic situation in the United States
is very tough but we can see the market recovery. I expect further
growth in the U.S. market. The population of America is around 300
million people. The population increases by approximately 3 million
people every year and three million people is a huge number
This is a very big opportunity for us. That's the reason why I expect
very big growth and faster growth of the market in the U.S. in the
coming years. This is my expectation and, at the same time, we have
to meet our customers' requirementscapacity, quality and also
For the past five or six years we've had the same strategy in order
to meet the market situation and customer requirements. The peak
of glass consumption was 2007. After that, we had to shrink our
operations in order to match market demands. In 2007, we had eight
float furnaces in North America. Now, just three furnaces remain
in North America. It is expected that the market will grow, so we
have to expand capacity and we have to upgrade our equipment in
order to meet customers' requirements. We have changed our strategy
completely toward growth. This is now our challenge for North America.
GB: What are your specific goals for AGC in the North American market?
MI: We are changing to become a solution provider, by not
only providing glass but also by providing solutions for customers.
This is a very big change for us and this is the basis of our "Beyond
Glass" approach. We have very advanced integration for environmental
issues, C02, emission reductions and energy savings so we can provide
a solution to the customer. This will be our focus for our future
GB: What do you see as the biggest problems facing your customers?
MI: Clearly the economy and where the market is heading is
a challenge for customers across the industry. Even though we see
the market recovering, if the economy stalls it's a concern that
is very visible to our customers. There is a big opportunity in
the North American market to focus on more value-added products
GB: What are your thoughts on the economic recovery? What
do you think is ahead for 2013?
MI: If you look at previous cycles of recession and recovery,
it follows the same order. That's what we are seeing today as well.
The recovery in automotive comes first, residential second and commercial
This story is an original story by AGRR™ magazine/glassBYTEs.com™. Subscribe to AGRR™ Magazine.
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