Shadows of Europe
Renraku Computer Systems
Corporate Court Ranking (2075): #3 (Previously #5)
Corporate Slogan: “How may we serve you?”
Corporate Status: AAA, public corporation
World Headquarters: Chiba, Japan
CEO (Post-mortem Honorary Title): Inazo Aneki
President: Orito Sasaki
Chairman of the Board: Shikei Nakatomi
Major Shareholders: None, no one owns more than ten percent of Renraku’s stock.
Dominant Business Language: Japanese
Renraku controls the world’s largest data repository and they own almost all of Asia’s local grids. And when nobody knows what kind of useful (or incriminating) information you’ve got squirreled away in your data-stores, it’s going to take some strong motivation to risk messing with you. They’ve got a seriously traditional Japanese culture, and their Red Samurai military units are universally feared. Not respected, feared.
|Major Divisions & Subsidiaries:|
|Renraku Africa||Renraku North America|
|Renraku Asia||Renraku Oceania|
|Renraku Europa||Renraku South America|
Australian Development Corporation
Australian Institute of Magical Research
Australian Telecom Services
Blohm & Voss GmbH
Fuchi Corporate Services
|Harland & Wolf Nautical Designs
The Hitotsubashi Group
LGSK Electronic Holdings
The Mizuho Group
Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines ltd
Shin Chou Kyogo
Socratic Education Group
Tetradyne Matrix Systems
Wacky Brothers Animation
The corporation began life as Keruba International, a munitions corporation out of Slovenia that made a killing in the first three decades of the twenty-first century when chaos was everywhere and everybody wanted a gun. KI managed to force its way onto the board of the Corporate Court, not making many friends in the process. In the wake of the first Crash, no one really shed a tear over the utter ruination of Keruba, but one man smelled opportunity. That man was Inazo Aneki.
Aneki mentions in his autobiography that he’d originally intended on gutting the corp for parts, but some- thing in it caught his eye (namely, that Corporate Court seat) and, rather than dismantle it, he moved it to Chiba, sold a few parts off, emptied his personal portfolio, and rebuilt it under an umbrella corporation, Renraku Computer Systems. Keruba still exists, renamed Izom Armaments, and is firmly grasped in the talons of Renraku’s holding company. It’s the Golden Ticket that gives them a permanent seat on the Corporate Court.
Aneki spent the early years as something of an understudy, the smallest of the Japancorps who was always happy to help the others and gobble up scraps from the table. In the ’30s, Renraku was involved in rebuilding the global communications system, generally given the junk jobs that Fuchi didn’t care to bother with, and the corp coasted to soft profits. Aneki himself got fat and lazy during this period, enjoying a level of wealth and power he’d never experienced before. He lost the razor edge that had gotten him here, and a coalition of executives made a move to oust him as CEO in the pursuit of profit. He woke up just in time, but turning aside the rebellion cost him the majority of his stock and no small degree of cash. As he got himself back in shape, he brought his corporation in line, trimming the fat (and most of those who had tried to remove him), emerging in under a decade as a top-five megacorp.
With the death of newly-elected president Dunklezahn, the dragon’s will delivered a sizable number of Renraku shares to Miles Lanier, the right hand of Richard Villiers. Villiers was one-third of Fuchi, the second-largest megacorporation at the time. Lanier’s move from deep inside Fuchi to sitting on the board of directors of Renraku was met with no small degree of unease, but he did what he could to win over his new peers on the board. Renraku deckers were suddenly slashing through Fuchi defenses as if they weren’t there, while product development beat Fuchi to market with their own designs. Numerous citizens who were unhappy with their station but unable to hop suddenly found themselves the targets of extractions to new Renraku-owned pastures. Fuchi buckled under the strain, with two-thirds of the owners firmly accusing Villiers of selling them out. The stock market noticed, and Fuchi shares plummeted, dropped, then plummeted again.
While this dog-and-pony show was up in front, Renraku gained two secret sources of innovation. The first is Dr. Antonio Vieri of Milan, an eccentric genius whose optical processors were a generation ahead of anything else of the day. The latter was the young AI being born in Renraku’s Self-Contained Industrial-Residential Environment, the monster known as Deus.
Through the rest of 2057, all of 2058, and most of 2059, Renraku was the golden goose, finding technological advances one after another, punching through Matrix defenses seemingly at will while making money hand over fist. Their stock value raced to the stratosphere while Fuchi’s wilted, and Renraku found itself the second-most valuable corporation in the world, vaulting past Fuchi and threatening to take the tail of the dragon itself, Saeder-Krupp.
In hindsight, Lanier being a double-agent is obvious, and his sudden and inevitable betrayal was seen as a vintage Villiers masterstroke in most historical accounts. Fuchi brought a legal assault to the Corporate Court, alleging insider trading and rampant piracy of its intellectual property by Renraku, all masterminded by Lanier. The exact arguments, and the final vote, is sealed up in the ZO, but we know some details: Lanier was forced to sell his stock to the Court at the value he’d acquired it rather than the current value, and he was sent to Fuchi in chains. While the court deliberates, some kind of virus goes through Renraku’s Matrix core, erasing yottapulses of data. This virus might be what drives Deus mad, as he soon locks the SCIRE down. Renraku stock, already hurt by the cheap sale, plunges into freefall and takes Fuchi stock with it as a panic sell-off ensues. Villiers unlocks his old friend Lanier’s chains, and the two of them pluck several plums from Fuchi’s frame, then break away to make Novatech.
Fuchi’s remaining two, previously minor stockholders, Shikei Nakatomi and Korin Yamana, then enter a knife-fight over what’s left. Samantha Villiers, ex-wife to Richard, holds the last piece to give one or the other complete control. She sells her stake (as part of the masterstroke of her former husband? Out of revenge against him? Very few will ever know it seems), and Fuchi falls to a majority owner just in time to die. Nakatomi takes his half of the corporation and buys himself into Renraku, while Yamana takes his half and buys into Shiawase.
Oh, and Aneki died.
Halley’s Comet shows up and the Ring of Fire celebrates by blowing up Japan. The Japanacorps pull back to rebuild the homeland and deal with the general magical madness that follows, with Renraku under the leadership of Haruhiko “Harry” Nakada, former chief operations officer for over a decade elevated to president over Yukiako Watanabe. The next ten years aren’t pretty as the Second Crash follows the comet. As a corporation based on the Matrix, Renraku doesn’t take it well at all. Nakatomi uses this time to force out rivals and twist arms to get himself named as the chair of the board. President Nakada commits a very public suicide, falling onto his sword in shame for his mismanagement of the corporation, signaling a cleansing from a decade of failure and leaving a fresh start for his replacement, Orito Sasaki.
While the corp is technically led by President Sasaki, everyone knows that it’s really Shikei Nakatomi who’s running the show. His rebuild of the Renraku model, focusing on the cross-pollination of the database division with the rest of the corp, has come into maturity and unleashed a new megacorporate model on the world. While not ashamed of their brand, Renraku’s taken to presenting subsidiaries without the Renraku brand, sacrificing some worldwide recognition for stronger lo- cal loyalty. They still retain the strength of their supply chain and intelligent design to make certain that goods arrive where needed, on time, and at a profit. It’s not exciting, but it’s beautifully executed.
It’s important to note that there are no majority share-holders of Renraku; no one owns more than ten percent, and just three percent ownership is enough to get you a seat on the board of directors.
Renraku Johnsons crave stability. The corp prizes company suits over other types of teams. If you’ve never worked for Renraku, or are into your second or third run, then you are being tested. If you do well, you will receive an offer to be put on retainer. That’s how Renraku works. They scout for talented teams and then buy them lock, stock, and barrel. You can refuse, of course, but if they like you, they are going to insist you drink the Kool-Aid.
If you do, it’s not a bad life. Your income gets a little more predictable and you gain access to toys a lot more easily. Most company teams get attached to one particular Johnson, who you will get to know pretty well. In many cases your bond is more to your Johnson than to the corp. I know of many teams that were cut loose when their Johnson died or otherwise stopped being a Johnson. But as always, beware of politics. Johnsons sometimes make internal enemies, and your Johnson’s enemies will most likely be your enemies as well. Your symbiotic relationship with your Johnson may demand more loyalty than you anticipated.
Finally, a word of caution. The Red Samurai hate company suits. The Samurai consider themselves to be the pinnacle of honor and guardians of the company. Frankly, they are very jealous of company suits. They are the wife, and you are the girlfriend. Renraku knows about the rivalry, but lets it occur as part of their culture, hoping the competitiveness brings out the best on both sides. But if you are doing any joint ops with the Red Samurai, watch your back.