10 Things You Didn’t Know About Nobutada Saji

When it comes to influential figures in the world of wine and spirits, Nobutada Saji is a name that stands out. As the president and CEO of Suntory Holdings Limited, he has played a pivotal role in the success and growth of the esteemed Japanese beverage company. While Saji’s contributions to the industry are well-known, there are several intriguing facts about his life and accomplishments that may surprise you.

1. Saji Comes from a Brewing Dynasty

Nobutada Saji was born into one of the most prominent brewing families in Japan. His grandfather, Shinjiro Torii, founded Suntory in 1899, starting with the production of Western-style wines. Saji’s father, Keizo, took over the reins and transformed the company into a global powerhouse known for its whiskey and other spirits. Following in their footsteps, Saji has surely made his mark on the industry.

This impressive lineage has undoubtedly shaped Saji’s deep appreciation and understanding of the artistry and craftsmanship that goes into creating world-class beverages. It also explains his unwavering commitment to upholding the family’s legacy while constantly pushing the boundaries of innovation within the industry.

2. Saji Spearheaded the Expansion of Suntory

Under Saji’s leadership, Suntory Holdings Limited has experienced significant expansion and diversification. He has been instrumental in transforming the company’s portfolio, which previously focused primarily on whiskey, to include a wide range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Today, Suntory offers everything from spirits and wines to soft drinks and bottled water.

By recognizing the evolving preferences of consumers and embracing a multi-category approach, Saji has successfully positioned Suntory as an industry leader across different beverage sectors. His strategic vision and ability to adapt to changing market trends have not only bolstered the company’s presence in Japan but also helped it gain global recognition.

3. Saji Advocates for Sustainability

Environmental consciousness is a cause close to Saji’s heart. He firmly believes that businesses have a responsibility to protect and conserve the earth’s resources for future generations. As part of his commitment to sustainability, Saji has introduced several initiatives at Suntory that aim to reduce the company’s carbon footprint and create a positive impact on the environment.

One notable effort is Suntory’s focus on renewable energy. The company actively invests in renewable power generation, such as solar and wind, to offset its energy consumption. Saji’s dedication to sustainability not only reflects his personal values but also aligns with the growing global demand for eco-friendly practices in the beverage industry.

4. Saji is a Strong Advocate for Responsible Drinking

In addition to his efforts in environmental sustainability, Saji also prioritizes responsible drinking. He recognizes the importance of enjoying alcoholic beverages in moderation and actively promotes responsible consumption both within the industry and society at large.

Saji’s commitment to this cause extends beyond mere advocacy. At Suntory, he has implemented comprehensive initiatives to ensure the responsible marketing and sale of products. This includes strict age verification processes, responsible advertising campaigns, and partnerships with public organizations to raise awareness about the potential dangers of excessive alcohol consumption.

5. Saji is a Philanthropist

When it comes to giving back, Saji’s philanthropy knows no bounds. He is actively involved in numerous charitable projects and organizations, supporting causes ranging from healthcare and education to environmental conservation and disaster relief efforts.

One notable initiative that Saji has championed is the Suntory Hall, a renowned concert hall in Tokyo. He played a pivotal role in establishing the venue as a cultural hub, providing a platform for aspiring musicians and artists to showcase their talents. Saji’s commitment to promoting the arts and nurturing talent underscores his belief in the power of culture to enrich society.

6. Saji is an Art Enthusiast

Beyond his impressive accomplishments in the beverage industry, Saji is a passionate art collector. He has amassed a remarkable collection of contemporary and traditional Japanese art, which includes paintings, ceramics, and calligraphy.

Notably, Saji showcases a portion of his collection in Suntory Art Museum, where visitors can explore the beauty and richness of Japanese art. Through his patronage, Saji not only preserves cultural heritage but also provides a platform for artists to gain recognition and inspire future generations.

7. Saji is Committed to Diversity and Inclusion

Saji recognizes the importance of diversity and inclusion in driving innovation and growth. Under his leadership, Suntory has implemented various measures to foster a diverse and inclusive work environment.

One such initiative is the Women’s Development Program, which aims to empower and advance female employees within the company. Saji understands that diversity of thought and perspectives is crucial to staying ahead in a rapidly evolving industry, and his commitment to inclusivity continues to shape Suntory’s success.

8. Saji’s Contributions Have Earned Him Numerous Accolades

Given his outstanding achievements and leadership within the beverage industry, it comes as no surprise that Saji has received several prestigious accolades. In 2012, he was awarded the title of Honorary Knight Commander by the United Kingdom, recognizing his contributions to promoting British-Japanese trade relations.

Saji’s dedication to sustainable business practices also garnered him the United Nations Global Compact LEAD Award in 2017. This award honors business leaders who champion sustainable development and promote responsible corporate citizenship.

9. Saji’s Leadership Extends Beyond Suntory

Saji’s influence extends far beyond his role at Suntory. He is known for his active participation in industry organizations such as the International Federation of Spirits Producers (IFSP) and the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA).

Through these platforms, Saji leverages his expertise and collaborates with industry peers to shape policies and standards that drive the continued growth and advancement of the global beverage industry.

10. Saji Embodies the Spirit of “Yatte Minahare”

“Yatte Minahare” is a Japanese phrase that roughly translates to “Go for it!” or “Do your best!” This spirit of determination and perseverance is deeply ingrained in the Saji family and is exemplified by Nobutada Saji’s leadership.

With an unwavering commitment to innovation, sustainability, and social responsibility, Saji continues to push the boundaries of what is possible for the beverage industry. Through his passion and inspiring leadership, he has solidified his place as a true visionary and trailblazer in the world of wine and spirits.

For more information on Nobutada Saji and Suntory Holdings Limited, you can visit their official website: https://www.suntory.com/

Explore the Suntory Art Museum and discover the beauty of Japanese art: https://www.suntory.co.jp/sma/