Yoshihiko Miyauchi entered Japan's corporate world in 1958 by way of a freighter to Seattle, where he earned an MBA at the University of Washington. In the four decades since, Miyauchi, 64, has navigated his way to the top of Japan's largest and most innovative leasing company, Orix Corp. And he has become Japan's loudest and most prominent corporate reformer: He chairs a government-advisory panel, the Regulatory Reform Committee, which reports directly to the Prime Minister. "I'm driven by the belief that the Japanese economy will only develop if markets are liberalized and market forces dictate the efficient allocation of resources," he says with evangelical zeal.
Miyauchi is precocious by Japanese standards. He joined Orix when it was founded in 1964 and, after stints overseas, rose to director when he was just 45. In his two decades as Chairman, Miyauchi transformed Orix from a lessor of office equipment and industrial machinery into a financial supermarket that dabbles in insurance, consumer finance, and stock brokering--and now e-commerce, too.