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Number 1 Shimbun

Marcus Fishenden - The FCCJ’s New General Manager

No1-2018-07 08

Marcus Fishenden
The FCCJ’s New General Manager
By Haruko Watanabe

In April, after half a year without top management, the Club hired as General Manager Marcus Fishenden, a 51-year-old Canadian resort and hospitality industry veteran. Marcus was formerly the director of operations in Asia for Troon, the world’s largest golf course management, development and marketing company. He later worked as second in command at Acordia, Japan’s biggest golf resort development and managing company.

Marcus has enjoyed a very versatile athletic and international life since his childhood in the small village of Revelstoke, British Columbia, which is now considered a sanctuary of snow sports in Canada. As a boy, he enthusiastically challenged rock and ice climbing and skiing. He still wryly recalls watching ten inches of snow accumulate on the edge of the window by the couch where he rested while a broken leg mended. But above all sports, fishing remains Marcus’s life-long hobby and passion.

His relationship with Japan started during his high school days. In 1985 he won a Rotary Club Student Exchange Scholarship and studied at Mitsuda High School in Kure City, Hiroshima. Upon graduating from the University of British Columbia, he joined Troon. For that company the young Marcus took part in projects ranging from land reclamation to the establishment of country clubs and commercial and residential districts in Hong Kong, Vietnam, China and other Asian countries.

His job experience includes consultations and negotiations with contractors and government agencies and with financial institutions such as HSBC, Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank. He learned the hard way in how to deal with delinquent accounts.

In Hong Kong, his major commitment was to develop 410 acres of an eighteen-hole golf course landscaped by Nicklaus design and a residential area. He brought an American school to the project to meet the needs of prospective residents.

Fifteen years after his Hiroshima stay, in 2000, Marcus Fishenden returned to Japan. He administered and managed more than a hundred golf courses, with hotels and restaurants, of Acordia Golf Company in Japan as number two in the company’s management.

“Number two works harder than number one,” he said. “People misunderstand me as a kuromaku (wire- puller) because I do not seek the number one position. But what I want is privacy rather than unnecessary publicity.”

Press Club is scheduled to move from the present Yurakucho Denki Bldg. to the New Fuji Building in Nakadori in mid-October. Major furniture and interior designs have been completed already but Marcus’s decision to introduce temperature controlled food carts and changes of floor layout leading from the bar to the dining room are the touch of a professional, which no architects had suggested.

Khaldon Azhari, President of the FCCJ, said, “All the Board and the Human Resources Committee members agreed Marcus was the best choice among ten candidates.”

A young journalist praised him, saying, “His friendly smile is a complete presentation of hospitality.”

Of course, the board may change with the annual election – and journalists often prefer to criticize rather than to develop employees. Besides, the salary levels of a public interest press organization are much lower than those of golf course developers. Fishenden’s motivation to work for the Club is a mystery to many members.

When Marcus heard about the job opening at the Press Club, he said, he thought about renovation of management and infrastructural changes. “Let FCCJ shine again!” To achieve that goal, he wants to appeal to younger and digital journalists in addition to traditional print, television and radio groups.

Although he prefers not to talk about himself, some FCCJ members and employees observe that his welcoming facial expression and his imposing figure (he’s 190 cm. tall) symbolize the social status and professionalism of the Press Club. They are already impressed by him even before completion of his three month probation.

As a fishing enthusiast, he boasted, his biggest catch was his Japanese wife, a 178 cm tall former Waseda University volleyball player he met in Hong Kong. They have a nine-year-old girl and a six-year-old boy. “I hope she would never change her spectacles – or else she would find all my faults.” He whispered, with his usual smile. Marcus-san gambatte!

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Haruko Watanabe started working for the Mainichi as a student contributor. Upon receiving her master’s degree from the University of Missouri in 1964, she joined the Chicago Sun-Times. Later she was Tokyo bureau chief for the Press Foundation of Asia. In 1976 she produced the path-breaking video Women Pioneers. During the 1980s and ‘90s she worked on United Nations women’s conferences. She trained Japanese, other Asian and African journalists as UNESCO media development consultant and lecturer at Sophia University. Haruko-san joined the FCCJ in 1981 and has served on the board as vice president, director and kanji. She is the Special Projects Committee chair and a life member.

Published in: July 2018

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