Japan Post takes full control of Toll as expansion journey starts

By: Rob McKay

Horsburgh to chair joint board, with two Japan Post members and 10 secondees to move here

Japan Post takes full control of Toll as expansion journey starts
Japan Post president and CEO Toru Takahashi and Toll Group managing director Brian Kruger mark the first official day of Japan Post’s ownership of Toll Group


Toll will not allow its offshore expansion task to loosen its domestic focus, managing director Brian Kruger says.

Speaking on the first day of its full ownership by Japan Post, which wants Toll to lead its global growth strategy, Kruger made plain his management is aware of the distraction trap and feels Toll is well-placed to avoid it.

"I think there are many examples of companies that have tried to expand outside of their home country and to some extent have lost sight of their important business in their home country," he says at a media event at Toll’s distribution centre for Newell Rubbermaid in Melbourne’s Altona.

"We are determined not to do that.

"Japan Post understands that our domestic Australian business is a fantastic business.

"They’ve certainly to date and I’m sure in the future will encourage us to make sure we don’t lose sight of the importance of the domestic business.

"The important thing to understand, though, [is] we have already got a significant presence outside of Australia – 40 per cent of our employees are outside Australia across a range of countries.

"We have a very significant global forwarding operation already.

"We have a very significant contract logistics business in a dozen-plus countries across Asia.

"So really for us it’s about building on that footprint."

Japan Post president and CEO Toru Takahashi says a new board will provide governance to Toll under Japan Post.

The new board includes a combination of senior Japan Post executives and former Toll Board members Ray Horsburgh and Nicola Wakefield Evans, with Horsburgh to act as chairman.

 "Establishing appropriate governance and support will help Toll maximise its enterprise value as a global logistics player with Japan Post," Takahashi says.

The full board will be:

  • Japan Post president and CEO Toru Takahashi
  • Japan Post senior executive vice president Tomohiro Yonezawa
  • Japan Post vice president Chikashi Isayama
  • Japan Post senior executive officer Norio Wakasa
  • Former Toll Group chairman Ray Horsburgh
  • Former Toll Group director Nicola Wakefield Evans
  • Toll Group managing director Brian Kruger.

Isayama and Wakasa will move to Australia and Japan Post is evaluating 10 staff to be seconded to Toll.

They will be executives in their 20s to late-30 from section chief to approaching management level.

The 11-member Toll management team will remain in place.

"We regard Toll as a great partner and teacher in the field of global logistics, especially in the areas of forwarding and contract logistics," Takahashi says.

"We highly respect Toll’s experience in multinational operations in these businesses.

"We expect staff from Japan Post to not only act as liaison for the two organisations but also to learn as much as possible from Toll.

"By leveraging each other’s strengths we aim to become a leading company in the very competitive global logistics industry."

Kruger reiterates the position taken at the takeover’s official announcement that there will be little if any impact on Toll operations.

"There’s not a lot of cross-over of our existing businesses, so, as a result of that, I don’t expect to see any material changes for our employees as a result of the transaction.

"We are working on a number of programs to continue to improve our business, which we would be doing in any event, that are quite unrelated to the takeover."

As previously, Takahashi emphasised Japan Post’s benign view of its new Australian arm.

"Japan Post will not control Toll as a subsidiary but respect Toll as a partner and we will work together to grow the business," he says.

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