Yoshiaki Ito


Aki Ito is a partner in Heidrick & Struggles’ Tokyo office where he leads the Technology & Services Practice in Japan. He also leads business transformation initiatives to support major Japanese companies operating internationally (Japan Inc.) through strategy and management consulting.


Prior to joining Heidrick & Struggles, Aki founded and led a management consulting firm X-TANK Consulting which specializes in turnaround and business transformation initiatives for Japan Inc. His key client was INCJ, a public-private investment fund. Aki also led a turnaround initiative for Japan Display Inc., INCJ’s portfolio company.

Known as a transformation leader and change agent, Aki is an expert at driving growth and leading the turnaround of various fortune 500 companies such as The Coca-Cola Company, Dell, Lenovo, Adidas, Sony Pictures Entertainment, and Haier. He has turned around or greatly increased the performance of every organization he has led.

Aki has extensive experience in managing businesses in Asia Pacific and North America. A Japanese national, Aki was born and raised in Thailand and received his higher education in the U.S. His cross-border background and diverse experience add a blend of foreign and familiar to his business approach.

Prior to X-TANK, Aki was CEO of Haier Asia Group where he was responsible for US$1.2 billion in P&L and 6,400 employees with a mission to turn around the former home appliance giant, Sanyo Electric Co., Ltd. Under his leadership, and in the first year of his appointment, Haier Asia Group recorded a fiscal-year profit for the first time in 15 years.


Thunderbird School of Global Management, Arizona U.S., Master of Business Administration and Master of International Management Degree


100 Most Influential Global Leaders, Nikkei BP, 2015

The Best Global Leader (Money Ball Award), Sony Pictures Entertainment

The Best Leader in Asia Pacific Japan (Direct to the Top), DELL