Paul Borloo & Shinichi Fujii
When Fuji Photo
Film Co. Ltd., Tokyo, acquired Olin Hunt's worldwide photochemical
business in 1989 and renamed it Fuji Hunt, it was generally expected
that Japanese managing directors would be appointed to run the
subsidiaries as was the normal procedure with other parts or the Fuji
Photo Film organisation. However, recognising the value which the
existing management added to the Fuji Hunt operation, including the
Belgium-based plant covering Europe, Africa and the Middle East where
Paul Borloo has been CEO for the last 14 years, the decision was made
to keep it in position.
Having been with
the company since 1982, managing director Paul Borloo retired with
effect from 1 April this year, though he will continue to work in an
advisory capacity for the next 12 months, and will regularly attend the
company's offices in Sint Niklaas, near Antwerp.
Borloo has been
succeeded by Shinichi Fujii who was previously manager of the finishing
division at Fuji Photo Film's factory in Ashigara, Japan. The range of
products for which Fujii was responsible included colour negative film
and paper, graphic arts film, some of the x-ray films, as well as movie
and instant films.
Fujii joined Fuji
Photo Film Co in 1972 after graduating from the Hokkaido University in
electronics engineering. He worked initially as a process engineer in
the coating and emulsion-making sector before moving to the finishing
division. Promotion required Fujii to travel widely on behalf of the
group, so this move to Europe is not a new experience for him.
Fuji was part of
the colour paper plant construction team of the Tilburg factory in the
Netherlands from 1984 to 1989. During this 5-year period he was
regularly travelling between Japan and The Netherlands before taking on
a similar mission in Greenwood, South Carolina, USA, where he stayed
until 1998. It was after this assignment that he returned to Japan to
head up the Ashigara plant finishing division.
Europe's most volatile photographic market, Fujii believes the strength
and spread of Fuji Hunt will be a great asset in facing the challenges
ahead. Due to our diversity we are currently
enjoying a good
business period, he says, but
this will not be
easy to maintain in the future, and I see the need for developing
strong partners in Europe.
Hunt's expansion in the field of pressroom chemicals is strong and has
achieved much - it is now the leading supplier in the world for these
products, and expects to progress further. The outlook for photo
products is not so clear, but the spin-off benefit of the company's
involvement in inkjet imaging products has done much to balance what
would otherwise be a difficult market.
Fujii sees inkjet
as a still expanding field, and intends to capitalise on it to sustain
Fuji Hunt's business. There is still a great deal
business in the photochemistry area as well, he
and we are working hard to develop our market share
has benefited recently from the withdrawal of other key players, but
inkjet products are growing in importance, and much attention will be
directed to expanding our activities in this sector.
Keeping a close
watch on the marketplace and anticipating future trends is a practice
which Paul Borloo has followed since joining the company 24 years ago,
and becoming managing director in 1992. He sees successfully answering
the challenges which changes in the market and their consequences on
the business brought forth over the years as one of his most important
The corporate side
of the business also kept Borloo busy. Apart from facing, and
accommodating, the major changes which the acquisition of the company
by Fuji Photo Film brought about, he spearheaded Fuji Hunt's own
acquisition trail with its takeover of major players in the pressroom
chemistry sector. These included Solco and DS Germany, as well as DS
Chemport in Malaysia and Australia.
his appointment as the managing director of a Japanese company without
any other Japanese managers - a development quite exceptional in any
industry where Japanese manufacturers are major players - as another
notable achievement. This signified an important degree of
recognition and trust in local management, he comments
negotiating with companies with a view to possible acquisitions
provided a great deal of personal satisfaction for Borloo, as did the
opportunities he instigated and developed for working on an
international level, taking in all European countries, much of Africa,
and dealing with American and Asian business partners worldwide.
company with a challenging future, Borloo believes Fuji Hunt is ready
and well prepared for change. Thanks to the
the Fuji Photo Film Group attaches to the development of new business
and technologies, Fuji Hunt has been able to prepare a strategic
approach which includes setting up an innovation cell to leverage the
R&D opportunities within Fuji Photo Film. The company will
develop these into new Fuji Hunt business market
opportunities, he says.
Fuji Hunt has been hardly affected by the digital evolution,
essentially due to its diversification strategy, which will continue,
and the development of new businesses. It is quite impressive how much
Fuji Photo Film Co. invests in its R&D activities, and this
gives Fuji Hunt the confidence that it can rely on the impressive
technologies constantly being developed within the group as part of its
own future progress.
Away from the
demands and pressures of working with a world-leading company, Borloo
is looking forward to his retirement: I have too
to do in life which is so short, he says.
I am an
outdoor person with a big garden and house to maintain, and I find a
lot of satisfaction in doing this and working with my hands.
on behalf of Fuji Hunt has not blunted Borloo's keen appetite for
seeing more of the world, which he hopes to do, while taking care of
his collection of vintage cars also keeps him occupied.
he queries. That is no issue for me as I have never
to ask myself what to do first.