Akihiro Nikkaku, president and CEO of Toray Industries, Inc., received an honorary Doctor of Business degree from the University of Rhode Island on May 20.
Toray Industries, Inc., based in Tokyo, Japan, is the parent company of Toray Plastics (America), Inc., which is headquartered in North Kingstown, Rhode Island. Nikkaku holds a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering and a Master of Science degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Tokyo. He joined Toray Industries in 1973 as an engineer and has served as president and CEO since 2010. Nikkaku also worked at Toray Plastics (America) from 1990-1994 as director of engineering in the Lumirror division.
As president and CEO of Toray Industries, Nikkaku has been a driving force behind the company’s efforts to leverage the power of chemistry to address global environmental challenges and to pursue business in a socially responsible manner. Toray Industries is committed to contributing to society through innovative ideas, technologies and products. As the leader of a corporation engaged in chemicals-related businesses, Nikkaku has made certain that social responsibility is integrated with Toray’s management philosophy, strategy and corporate objectives.
Nikkaku also has implemented processes that guarantee that corporate social responsibility is incorporated throughout Toray’s supply chain; made workplace safety and accident prevention a priority; embraced the empowerment of women; promoted human rights and human resources development; and requires clear communications with all stakeholders. For Nikkaku, business growth is inseparable from ethical, sustainable business practices.
“We are very pleased to have granted this honorary doctoral degree — the highest accolade bestowed by our university — to Mr. Nikkaku in recognition of his visionary leadership of Toray Industries, Inc., and the extraordinary partnership between URI and Toray Plastics (America), Inc.,” said David M. Dooley, University of Rhode Island president. “His steadfast support of so many of our engineering and business students has been essential to their education and career success.”
Nikkaku expressed his appreciation of URI for the honorary doctorate and noted “the strong, long-standing relationship between Toray Plastics (America) and the university.” He added that it was his honor to accept the degree on behalf of all the employees at TPA.
Mike Brandmeier, president and CEO of Toray Plastics America, adds: “The conferring of the honorary doctorate on Mr. Nikkaku was a very proud moment for all of us at Toray Plastics (America). We have deep respect for Mr. Nikkaku’s leadership and accomplishments and are very grateful for his enthusiastic support of our partnership with URI.”
Brandmeier noted that Toray Plastics (America) has a significant history of supporting URI. Executives serve on various boards and provide academic advisement. In addition, the company has contributed $4 million to URI, primarily supporting the Toray Plastics of America Engineering Fellowship ($1 million) and the Toray Plastics of America scholarship for undergraduate students ($1 million). In 2014, Toray pledged $2 million to the College of Engineering project. The company also provides internships and sponsors special design projects for students to pursue during their senior year. Toray now employs 46 URI graduates.
In addition to serving as president and CEO, Nikkaku is a representative director of Toray Industries, Inc. Prior to his appointment as president, he served as an executive vice president, senior managing director and managing director.
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