Leadership

Sekisui House Re-Sets U.S. Strategic Leadership In New Growth Drive

Osaka, Japan-based Sekisui House appoints Toru Tsuji, a senior-level strategic executive, to head up an ambitious U.S. business growth trajectory, and the introduction and roll-out of the company's SHAWOOD line of innovative homes.

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Leadership

Sekisui House Re-Sets U.S. Strategic Leadership In New Growth Drive

Osaka, Japan-based Sekisui House appoints Toru Tsuji, a senior-level strategic executive, to head up an ambitious U.S. business growth trajectory, and the introduction and roll-out of the company's SHAWOOD line of innovative homes.

Together with
November 1st, 2023
Sekisui House Re-Sets U.S. Strategic Leadership In New Growth Drive
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With an eye toward driving to an ambitious goal of producing and selling 9,000 homes or more in the U.S. by 2025, SH Residential Holdings elevated Toru Tsuji to CEO of Sekisui House's U.S. portfolio of homebuilding and residential development interests.

Mr. Tsuji, responding to a request from The Builder's Daily explains:

The main reason for sending the executive officer from the Japanese headquarters to the U.S. was to facilitate communication. After all, when you cross the ocean in the form of the U.S. and Japan, it is difficult to communicate well why Osaka makes such requests and why such decisions are made, and vice versa. Our main goal is to solve this communication gap. And the next most important thing is to expand the development of SHAWOOD. In order to achieve these two major objectives, we have created the Stakeholder Relations Office as a bridge between our headquarters in Japan and the U.S. and as a center for technology transfer, and we will integrate various sections to achieve our goals."

The strategic organizational move – part of parent company Sekisui House Ltd's global aims to improve and integrate governance as it accelerates its growth plans – will bring cohesion, accountability, collaboration, and a homebuilder-developer focus across the Osaka-based Sekisui's four U.S. launching-pad homebuilding enterprises, which taken together, close over 5,300 homes and generate revenues of $2.84 billion – volume and revenues comparable to top 20 U.S. homebuilders.

Source: Company information

Among the business objectives as Sekisui House has outlined in its "Sixth Mid-Term Management Plan," combined U.S. and Australia revenues would reach the equivalent of $6 billion in 2025, counting on 67% growth in homebuilding deliveries in the U.S. alone over the next two years. As recently as June, Sekisui House's U.S. ongoing growth imperatives played out in the acquisition of Boise, ID-based Hubble Homes, a regional powerhouse with annual revenues of $300 million.

The plan, as Sekisui House has it mapped out, suggests it will continue to pursue M&A as it fills in its United States operating footprint, most likely adding a launch-pad strategic acquisition in the fast-growing Southeastern U.S. residential arenas.

According to Mr. Tsuji:

Sekisui House is focused on further investing in the United States and filling out the geographies in which we’re not currently represented. We are still interested in expanding into the Southeast. The United States provides opportunities to grow and expand our Sekisui House technologies and bring innovation and new product to the U.S. consumer."

We've written earlier:

Although Sekisui House's corporate headquarters, its deep cultural core as a business, and its capital center happen to be Osaka, Japan, a hallmark operational principle driving expansion initiatives into opportunistic overseas markets is corporate leaders' belief they need to "learn from the proven experts," not only what American regional and local home buying customers want, need, and will buy, but other local factors that impact regulation, access to construction trades, land sellers, etc.
"The goal in the post-merger stages for all three companies is to learn what each of the local operators does best, and how that works," says SH Residential Holdings' ceo Rick Robideau. "Whether it's Roger Gannon at Woodside or Greg Kubicek at Holt Homes, or now Don Klein at Chesmar, each of them is a crucial learning and discovery point for Sekisui House as to how and when to move forward in the markets as a key to durable success."
Robideau notes that what initially caught parent Sekisui House Ltd.'s strategic attention as magnets for each operators' position where three key non-negotiables: a product position that stands for value vs. price; a strong commitment bias toward sustainable, high-performance buildings, and a corporate team capable of cultural contribution towards Sekisui House's business principles. For the would-be acquirer, this narrows the field among strong business operators in any market or region to a short list of firms Sekisui House is prepared to listen to for intelligence and insight as to its opportunities every bit as much as it offers strategic guidance, financial, and operational resources to grow.
Our initiatives with respect to the local operators – Woodside, Holt, and Chesmar – emphasize patience even as we explore, first of all synergies – human resources, some SG&A shared services, looking at national vendor agreements, procurement, rebate programs, and begin to get on the same page on IT across the operator group," says Robideau. "We are not going to be disruptive, but we'll look for the opportunities to support the businesses with any of those synergies that can help, particularly when supply chains are still undergoing stress and shock."

Of note among a few of these organizations, the founder-principal – while still an important day-to-day force in the operations and business culture of the company – is in the latter chapter of their careers, making it an opportune moment to address a more unified strategic and operational leadership structure going forward.

Over the past two years, under the leadership of Rick Robideau, we’ve watched Sekisui capture some of the leading private homebuilders in the US with Holt, Chesmar and Hubble," says Thomas Carpitella, CEO of FTS, a sponsoring partner of The Builder's Daily. "Their ability to identify world class homebuilding operations and admirable, unique corporate cultures is extraordinary, all while successfully integrating them into the Sekisui platform at a large scale.
Rick and Roger Gannon have noticeably turned Woodside Homes, as an example, into an industry-leading corporate culture through their deep interest and willingness to engage and collaborate with their top executives at a level that most larger builders don’t have an interest in."
Source: company information

Addressing these objectives for the new CEO Toru Tsuji across the growing Sekisui House U.S., a press statement notes.

As the brand continues to grow and evolve, the executive team will be hyper-focused on divisional operations, building a centralized team to support functional needs, and customer-centric, research-based approaches to designing happiness and creating customers for life. Tsuji will oversee the integration of Sekisui House Technology, philosophy, and innovation to the established Woodside, Chesmar, Hubble and Holt brands."

Toru Tsuji is stepping up to succeed acting CEO Rick Robideau, who'll transition back to his prior strategic role as chief financial officer.

Tsuji, the press statement notes

... most recently served as General Manager of the Business Strategy Office of the International Business Department (IBD) since 2019, as well as the position of Deputy General Manager of the IBD, where he also served as CEO of both Australia and UK business... Prior to joining Sekisui House, Tsuji held various leadership positions at Mitsubishi Corporation, including President & CEO of Mitsubishi Corp. - UBS Realty Inc. and General Manager of Domestic Real Estate Development Division."

The strategic executive reorganization follows quickly on the heels of Sekisui House's announcement last week it would move full-speed ahead on introducing its flagship SHAWOOD brand in the United States.

After three years of field study, market analysis, and pilot community development proved out a market that would welcome these high-performance, safe and comfortable, high-resiliency, highly-livable, technologically-advanced new-home models, the organization's strategic plan calls for 150 SHAWOOD completions in 2024, and double that amount in 2025.

Image courtesy of Sekisui House U.S./SHAWOOD

According to Sekisui House U.S. chief insights and marketing officer Erin Willis:

There’s been tremendous learning happening with our internal teams and trade partners to learn more about SHAWOOD. Our first full SHAWOOD community launches in November at Sommers Bend in Temecula with 57 home sites and 7 plans. We have been working on establishing the SHAWOOD brand in the United States. We have had to fully immerse the construction staff and trade partners in an education program on how to build SHAWOOD. It is a new framing system in the U.S. that is engineered for strength and precision to protect against natural disasters. It has a strong relationship to protecting you, your family, and the planet. Every home will be equipped to be net zero as our standard and included in the base price of the home. This gives future homeowners the ability to run off the grid in case of power outage for up to 6 hours. The homes also use a proprietary ceramic tile called Bellburn, that is heat resistant, fire resistant and colorfast. We’ve also been expanding the understanding of how design affects the people that live in our homes. Our homes are designed to provide wellbeing, peace of mind and lower stress levels through mindful connection to the outdoors and research-based design elements such as storage, interior connectivity, and privacy.”

The SHAWOOD roll-out, according to Sekisui House strategic documents, will lean into six western U.S. markets – Southern California, Central Valley California, Northern California, Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, Phoenix – with particular focus on buyers of $500,000-plus homes in those markets.

We are importing our SHAWOOD frame (harvested from certified sustainable forests and engineered for strength) from our factories in Japan, that gets assembled on site using a foundation direct joint and metal joint systems that are bolted together to create earthquake resistant homes," explains Sekisui House's Erin Willis. "The precision in the SHAWOOD frame also allows for a reduction in construction waste to create a more resilient home aligned with our environmental values. We continue working with our U.S. trade partners to train and create expertise with this new system."

Meanwhile, given the size, innovative impetus, and accelerated growth Sekisui has pursued in its North American game plan, the common thread tying that together has been a focus on building a defining culture across the units made up of highly engaged talented people.

Results of our partnership with Sekisui have manifested in landing some of the top Division Presidents and C-Suite executives in the homebuilding industry, all captivated by the opportunity to participate in the larger Sekisui vision and SHAWOOD product," says FTS CEO Thomas Carpitella. "In an environment where this level of talent is not only scarce but highly competitive amongst top national builders, in a room full of options, the Sekisui story is an obvious stand out – and continues to win."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

John McManus

John McManus

President and Founder

John McManus, founder and president of The Builder’s Daily, is an award-winning editorial, programming, and digital content strategist. TBD's purpose is a community capable of constant improvement.

ABOUT

Staffing and recruiting done right. Fast Tracking Solutions specializes in delivering top talent in accounting/finance, construction, and technology operations.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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John McManus

President and Founder

John McManus, founder and president of The Builder’s Daily, is an award-winning editorial, programming, and digital content strategist. TBD's purpose is a community capable of constant improvement.

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Staffing and recruiting done right. Fast Tracking Solutions specializes in delivering top talent in accounting/finance, construction, and technology operations.

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