Recruit Holdings chief wants to be ‘most powerless CEO in the world’

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Hisayuki “Deko” Idekoba, CEO of the company behind the job search engine Indeed.comit doesn’t seem to attach much importance to his role.

“I want to be the world’s most powerless CEO,” Idekoba of Japan’s Recruit Holdings Co. said Haslinda Amin in an interview with Bloomberg TV’s. Latitude. “All I could think about was, ‘How can I help everybody?’ and, ‘How can I show good vision?’”

It is not an unusual denial, but in Idekoba, it may be true. He spends most of his time outside of his native Japan and lives in Austin, Texas, where Yes was founded. He moved there more than ten years ago after convincing his boss to buy a $1 billion startup, and stayed even after he was promoted to CEO of Recruit three years ago.

With access to great hiring information, and filling more than 1 million positions every month, Recruit and Indeed have a high profile for international jobs. There is still a lot of tension in the job search, which offers more opportunities, according to Idekoba.

“The big thing is that all the developed countries are living with less workers,” said Idekoba. He says the aim is to make it easier for people to find work, and for employers to fill it. While remote work records are shrinking, the demand for flexible roles remains strong, he added.

Recruit is undoubtedly one of the most misunderstood companies in Japan. In addition to Glassdoor’s employee review service, it handles advertising and staffing jobs worldwide. Recruit connects consumers with businesses large and small through a variety of portals. It’s like living LinkedIn, That, Yelp, eHarmony, Booking.com, Square and many other apps under one roof. With a market cap of ¥11.3 trillion ($75 billion), Recruit is bigger than Nintendo Co., or Honda Opinions of the company Motor Co.

Back in the late 80s, Recruit was at the center of a the share-for-favors scandal which brought down the Prime Minister. Left without a founder and $14 billion in debt, the remaining employees took matters into their own hands, creating an independent and flexible culture.

“We are not forcing people to be evicted,” Idekoba said. “We encourage people to think.”

In the age of artificial intelligence, it will be more important for people to think about their work, and what they want to do, according to Idekoba. Writing tasks, for example, could be replaced by AI, he said. Recruit is also investing heavily in AI to improve its ability to match candidates with businesses, he said.

Although it’s a well-positioned business in a growing workforce, Recruit remains undervalued, according to investment firm ValueAct, which took a 1.1% stake in the company in November. The investor did not say much more than to say that the shares could double in value. Since then, the stock has risen 43%, raised in part by a ¥200 billion acquisition.

“Not only promoters, investors are many, smart,” said Idekoba. “I am having a good time with them. There are some good ideas to open your eyes. We always try to learn from everyone, everyone involved. “

Listening to shareholders is part of being a public company, even though Recruit itself has only been listed for ten years. The director of Idekoba took over the company in 2014 in part to raise funds and provide shares that could be used for capital purchases. However, without $1.2 billion The purchase of Glassdoor in 2018, Recruit has not done anything big, and had a revenue of about $ 7.3 billion and the same at the end of 2023.

When asked if he was looking at any targets, Idekoba said there was still a big difference in business prices between buyers and sellers, making it difficult to find opportunities.

“There are many good companies, but I like to invest more in our business, with AI technology,” said Idekoba. “It seems like the best bet, in my opinion, right now.”

— Contributed by Justin Solomon and Winnie Hand

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