Tokyo’s Internet Jesus Uses Secret Creed to Command 101 CEOs

(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.

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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

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