The Warren K. Lewis Lectureship in Chemical Engineering – 2013

“Management’s Co-dependence on Mother Earth: Sustainability in the Chemical Industry and the Four-Dimensional Analysis”


Dr. Yoshimitsu Kobayashi
President and Chief Executive Officer
Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Corporation

Friday, April 5, 2013
3:00p.m. – 4:00p.m., Room 34-101
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Cambridge, MA


Dr. Yoshimitsu Kobayashi is the president and chief executive officer of Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Corporation, as well as the chairman of its board.

He is also the chairman of the board of Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation, a member of the holding company, and the founder of a new research institute, named “The Kaiteki Institute”, where he serves as the representative director, a member of the board, and president.

Dr. Kobayashi was born in Yamanashi Prefecture, west of Tokyo, Japan.  He attended the University of Tokyo from which he graduated in 1971 with a Master’s of Science in “Interdisciplinary Sciences”. In 1972 and 1973 he took the unconventional step to travel and study overseas, under a government-sponsored fellowship to study radiation physics at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and inorganic chemical reactions at the “Scuola Normale Superiore” in Pisa, Italy.  In 1975 he received his doctorate degree from the University of Tokyo in radiation physics.

His career with Mitsubishi Chemical started nearly 40 years ago and has spanned a broad array of activities: from research and development at the corporate research labs; to product development; to management of business units; to management of a new global company; to chief technology officer for the group of companies; to president and chief executive officer.

In all of these activities he has excelled and left behind a trail of high-impact and consequential accomplishments, such as development of new catalysts; optical storage media that set the functionality standards in the market place; the highest profitability global business unit in Mitsubishi Chemical (as president and CEO of Mitsubishi Kagaku Media); and establishment of the “Innovation Center” for the group of companies (as chief technology officer).

Since 2007, when he assumed the leadership of Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Corporation, he has radically restructured and re-positioned the companies of the holding group in order to streamline and rationalize traditional commodity-chemicals business, while investing heavily to capture the opportunities offered in the market place by the high added-value functional products in human health and higher quality of human living.

Central to Dr. Kobayashi’s management thinking has been the concept of “Good Chemistry for Kaiteki”, which in Japanese implies, “Good Chemistry for Sustainability, Health, and Comfort”. His management plan for the group of companies has been guided by this concept.  He established a new research institute to support his effort in a global scope.  He wrote an influential book, titled “Good Chemistry for Kaiteki”. He has established himself as, in the words of David N. Weidman, chairman and CEO of Celanese Corporation, “a thought leader of responsible business”.  To further amplify this theme, he recently published two more books. The first, titled “Management Codependent on Mother Earth: The MOS Manifesto” is available in both Japanese and English, while the second, titled “Resolution to Stand Against the Crisis” is available only in Japanese at this point in time.  Hopefully, an English version will be available soon.