President and CEO of Kao Corporation
In 1981, Michitaka Sawada earned his master’s degree in the Process Engineering program (first half of the doctoral course) at the Osaka University Graduate School of Engineering. His focus was on applied science. He joined Kao Soap Co., Ltd. (present-day Kao Corporation) that same year. He was assigned to the Wakayama Plant, where he worked for the next 23 years. He was involved consistently in the company’s research and development department. After serving as a manager at the Materials Development Laboratory, he became the director of the Sanitary Research Institute in 2003. He contributed to the rejuvenation of the Merries brand of baby diapers. In 2006, he became an operating officer. As the second-in-charge of the company’s research and development department, he helped manage its activities. In 2007, he assumed the additional position as director of the Human Healthcare Research Center. In 2008, he became a director. On June 28, 2012, he became the president and CEO.
Koyasan and Kumano, which have inherited the legacy of Shingon esoteric Buddhism founder Kukai, who is affectionately known as “Odashi-san,” are bustling with tourists most days, but if you venture off the busy streets into the mountains, you’ll find that the solemn stateliness of the place remains intact. With its raft of scenic places that appeal to all five senses, Wakayama has contributed to my personal growth as a corporate employee and as a researcher throughout my life.
I look forward to exploring anew Kukai’s teachings about unceasing truth, which stretch out over 1,200 years, and helping communicate this to the next generation.