World’s oldest company Kongo Gumi goes bust

Businessweek has an article up on the sad demise of the 1400 year old Japanese temple builder Kongo Gumi. Also points to some interesting lessons one can learn Post link:
<Via Economic Times May 18, 2007 issue> Flashback:
I had covered Kongo Gumi in my post on the world’s oldest companies.


  1. Anonymous said May 20, 2007, 2:22 am:

    Awesome Sukumar. I see Infy and Cognizant showing good succession plans. Whereas Wipro and Satyam alikes..not sure. And Tata sons always maintained their group with excellent executive management. We have to see how many remain after 20 years 🙂

  2. Anonymous said May 20, 2007, 3:38 am:

    Thanks Vamsi. Interesting point about succession planning in the software industry.interestingly the average tenure on the s&p 500 is only 20 years and is slated to drop to 10 years by 2020 (see my post titled Creative Destruction). That stat brings new meaning to succession planning. -Sukumar

  3. Anonymous said May 22, 2007, 10:48 am:

    They survived as a “Temple Building Company” this long?! They maintained THAT USP for so many centuries! Most technologies are obsolete in 25 years. But, 1400+ years is a mere bagatelle for religion 🙂 Just boggles my mind.

    – Priya

  4. Anonymous said May 23, 2007, 4:24 am:

    Good point Priya. I guess that is the power of religion. By the way, they did diversify into general building construction but their temple building revenue was around 70-80% even after diversification.