(Bloomberg Businessweek) — Beside Tokyo’s bustling Shibuya train station lies a sprawling set of offices, where a high school dropout watches over his many disciples. Over three decades, Masatoshi Kumagai has built his internet business into a vast empire. Today he presides over 102 companies, led by himself and 101 different chief executive officers.
To keep his people focused on the same goals, the founder, chairman, and president of GMO Internet Inc. uses a private creed he calls GMO-ism. It’s a set of values and philosophies he’s been crafting since 1995. “It’s like a religion,” Kumagai says in a Zoom interview. Clad in a white GMO-branded T-shirt, the 57-year-old looks at least a decade younger. “The heads of each business are the priests. And in that example, I guess I’m Jesus Christ.”
GMO is a conglomerate for the internet era, dominating large parts of Japan’s web infrastructure. The