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YASUSHI AKAO, President, Renesas Electronics Corp.

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Akao, 57, put his company's name in the headlines like never before. When Japan's March earthquake triggered a shortage of Renesas' important microcontroller chips, it brought the global auto industry to its knees and turned the spotlight on a lower-tier supplier all but unknown before the disaster. His efforts to kick-start production held the key to the Japanese auto industry's recovery. Through cooperation with automakers and other customers, he was able to repair the company's quake-rattled chip foundry in Japan ahead of schedule, while transferring some of its production offshore to fill supply chain gaps.

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