Gerhard Fasol

Gerhard Fasol – board director, M&A in Tokyo

more than 30 years in Tokyo: Board Director, M&A, cross border business development

  1. M&A
  2. Building foreign companies’ Japan business
  3. Turn-round

M&A and global business in Tokyo for more than 30 years

Gerhard Fasol is among those foreigners with the longest and deepest business experience in Japan. Gerhard has worked on a large range of business projects including M&A, strategy advisory, turn-round, and market entry to Japan. In recent years, Gerhard focuses on pharmaceutical industry and medical devices. Gerhard has worked with the some of the largest global corporations including CEO and Board level, with investment banks, and ventures, and government agencies, eg Finland’s TEKES. Gerhard is one of the few foreigners who served on the Board of Directors of a Japanese stock market listed group, taking a pro-active role in increasing the value of the company. Gerhard Fasol works since 1984 with Japan, when he came first time to Japan to help build an R&D cooperation project with NTT’s R&D labs, and works since 1991 in Tokyo, since 1997 as entrepreneur.


Working on a wide range of cross-border M&A projects from Tokyo. Worked with NTT Communication’s global M&A team on their investment and acquisition strategy for all of Europe and 17 industry sectors verticals. Assisted a French pharmaceutical multinational acquire a pharmaceutical factory near Tokyo. As Board Director of a stock market listed Japanese group worked on the Board / decision making level on M&A transactions.

Strategy and growth

Worked with the CEO and top executive management Board of the world’s largest toy company, a number of Silicon Valley based SaaS (Software as a Service) companies on accelerating growth in Japan, determining the reasons holding the companies back in Japan, developing go-to-market and growth strategies based on thorough analysis of Japan’s relevant markets, competitive advantage, and implementation.

Pharmaceutical industry and medical devices

Japan is one of the world’s largest and most interesting pharmaceutical markets with about US$ 120 billion size, and undergoing fundamental transformations. Working with large pharmaceutical multinationals, eg we helped with acquisition of a Japanese pharma factory, worked with cell therapy ventures, with medical device companies. Currently projects in preparation with ventures developing antibody therapies for cancer, cell therapy venture developing immune system therapies, and several others.

Board Director and Corporate Governance

Gerhard Fasol is among the few foreign Board Directors of Japanese stock market listed corporations. For four years he served as Board Director plus member of the Supervisory & Audit Committee of the stock market listed GMO GlobalSign Holdings KK Group [TYO:3788]. Gerhard takes a pro-active role, pushed for changes, and of course took part in all the Board discussions and decision making, on the basis of many detailed private discussions with other Board Members, and CEO, and study of the company and the markets. Gerhard is deeply interested and speaker on Japan’s corporate governance and management reforms. Gerhard’s views on Japan’s corporate governance and management reforms at the Foreign Correspondents Club FCCJ:

Market entry to Japan and turn-round

Worked with a large number of European and US companies on their market entry preparations, and turn-round projects. For a silicon valley digital marketing company we worked on Japan market entry preparations and strategy choices, for another silicon valley SaaS group we worked on their “third market” entry, identified the factors holding back their growth in Japan, and created strategy and go-to-market plan.

Financial industry

For about 100 portfolio managers at major investment funds we performed analyst-type research work mainly on Japan originating global paradigm shifts, eg in mobile internet, mobile payment and digital money. Recently we additionally worked for the Board of the Japan fund of a global investment bank on their strategy to invest in Japan’s venture sector.

Due diligence for investments and M&A

For investment funds and acquiring companies we worked on a wide range of due diligence projects, e.g. to the European acquirer we delivered the regulatory and environmental due diligence on a Japanese pharmaceutical factory, and assisted with the acquisition negotiations.

Japan market research

Worked on a large range of market research projects in the internet, mobile internet, pharma and other technology sectors. Market research projects – usually part of market-entry and growth acceleration projects – include Japan’s SaaS, omni-channel, customer experience management (CMX, CX), Japan’s mobile base station market, precision timing equipment market, digital money and many more markets.

Cross-border acquisitions combined with Board Director work – need for Board level communications

When a US or European company acquires or invests in a Japanese company and vice-versa when a Japanese company invests in or acquires a European company, a multitude of communication and management issues need to be managed, creating a need for managing the corporate relationships via Board Director work between the companies.

Science and technology fundament

All work uses diligent scientific methods and technologies – eg semiconductor physics, data science, statistics, mathematics – where applicable. Our methodology is science based, where applicable, and if budgets/investments/funding allow.

Cambridge University

Gerhard Fasol worked three years for his PhD at the Cavendish Laboratory (Physics Dept) of Cambridge University, building time-resolved luminescence equipment and found a new type of singlet/triplet impurity states in amorphous phosphorus. After five years as Trinity College Fellow and Staff Scientist at the Max-Planck-Institute in Stuttgart, Gerhard was appointed Lecturer at the Cavendish Laboratory and built a research group with PhD students and post-docs investigating electronic and ultra-fast processes in semiconductor microstructures. Based on his work, Gerhard was appointed to a tenured (permanent) University faculty position.

Trinity College (Cambridge University)

Trinity College is Cambridge University’s largest College with 34 Nobel Prize winners, with large global impact and a global alumni community. Gerhard was PhD student at Trinity College, won a Trinity research Fellowship in the annual Fellowship competition, and later was appointed as Trinity Teaching Fellow and Director of Studies in Natural Sciences. In 2014 Gerhard founded Trinity in Japan, and is building the Trinity Japan alumni community, linking with the global Trinity alumni community.

Trinity Japan

Gerhard founded Trinity Japan in 2014, is building Trinity in Japan as Trinity College Cambridge’s Japan alumni organizing and linking with the global Trinity alumni community. This work has led to numerous cooperations and exchanges, created by monthly meetings and other events. see: Since 2020 Gerhard organizes global Trinity Japan video discussions with Trinity’s Nobel Prize winners and outstanding alumni, recordings are published on youtube:

Ludwig Boltzmann Forum

Gerhard founded and builds the Ludwig Boltzmann Forum as a global leadership forum in honor of his great-grandfather, Ludwig Boltzmann. In addition to in-person Ludwig Boltzmann conferences, Gerhard builds series of global Ludwig Boltzmann video conferences:

Tokyo University and Japan’s Science Technology Agency (Sakigake Project)

From Cambridge University and Trinity College, Gerhard was head-hunted by Hitachi to manage one of Hitachi’s R&D laboratories, then became Associate Professor at Tokyo University’s Electronic Engineering Department, where he built the “Fasol Lab” research group at the Institute of Industrial Science: In parallel, Gerhard’s spin electronics proposal won a highly competitive “Sakigake” (=Pioneer) research project of Japan’s science and technology agency – the first foreigner to complete a “Sakigake” project.

Kyushu University

As Guest Professor of Kyushu University, Gerhard proposed four projects to contribute to growth in Kyushu. His work included a lecture on the future of engineering education in Kyushu:

Max-Planck-Institute Stuttgart and Ruhr-University Bochum

During the period of his Trinity College Cambridge Research Fellowship Gerhard Fasol worked 5 years as Staff Scientist at the Max-Planck-Institute Stuttgart in Professor Manuel Cardona’s group. Before his PhD at Cambridge University, Gerhard graduated with a Diplom in Physics from Ruhr-University Bochum, completing his basic physics studies, and including a two year research thesis project on super-conductivity under pressure, searching for high-temperature super-conducting materials.

Books and scientific and other publications

Gerhard worked as scientist, later as principal investigator at a number of leading institutions including Ruhr-University Bochum, Max-Planck-Institut Stuttgart, Cambridge University, Cavendish Laboratory, École Normale Supérieure Paris, Tokyo University, RIKEN, research results are documented in Gerhard’s books, peer reviewed and other (non-peer reviewed) publications and conference reports: Gerhard is also frequently interviewed by major global media (BBC, Bloomberg,, CNBC etc) on Japan’s technology sector:

Google Scholar author page: author page

Global professional network

Through his academic, scientific work at several globally top institutions (Cambridge University, Trinity College Cambridge, Max-Planck-Institute, Tokyo University) and his business work in several different industry sectors, Gerhard has built a global professional network.

Leadership – creating communities

Building communities and leadership. Connecting Japan and Europe/US since 1984.

Ludwig Boltzmann Forum

Energy. Entropy. Leadership

Science and technology leadership.

Founder & Chair: Gerhard Fasol

Ludwig Boltzmann Forum Tokyo 18 February 2016
Ludwig Boltzmann Forum Tokyo 18 February 2016
Trinity Japan meeting with Master Dame Sally Davies, 28 February 2023
Trinity Japan meeting with Master Dame Sally Davies, 28 February 2023

Trinity Japan (Cambridge University)

Japan alumni group of Trinity College Cambridge.

Trinity College is Cambridge University’s largest College with 34 Nobel Prize winners, and significant global impact.

Video talks and discussions with Trinity’s Nobel Prize winners, Fellows, and outstanding alumni:

Founder & Chair: Gerhard Fasol