Orix USA Floundering—Holmes Going, Going....


by Christopher Menkin


Last June Tom Hidder, president of the Business Credit Group (BCG) at ORIX Financial Services (OFS), announced the promotion of Mark E. Tauber to National Sales Manager of BCG. His job to build “ a national sales organization to deliver BCG’s products to middle-market companies throughout the U.S.”


ORIX Financial Services is an indirect wholly owned operating subsidiary of ORIX Corporation, a leading diversified financial services organization with assets in excess of $49 billion. ORIX Corporation is based in Tokyo, Japan with operations in 23 global markets. ORIX is a publicly traded company listed on the Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya and New York Stock Exchanges (Ticker: IX).


Leasing News has received several reports from insiders that Jay Holmes, Chairman and CEO of OFS, is on his way out. No one at Orix is willing to talk on the record. They

like to send press releases, hand outs as we call them, almost like an advertisement.

Most have been announcements of changes such as the recent appointment of Bill G. Fite to senior vice-president/group credit manager within the Equipment Finance Group. In 2001, he was the director of marketing and sales for the Equipment Finance Group.



The CIO and CAO were let go at the first of the year at about the same time they laid off 10% of their staff. The word is they were given a nice going away party and enough money to keep their mouths shut. It was also reported Holmes also lost half of his responsibilities to Gary Gussoff who was promoted to COO after failing to turn around the Equipment group. Word from insiders is that Gusoff is like a “teflon don.” Everything he touches seems to fail but for some reason he never gets blamed. He just gets



Leasing News was told the move from New Jersey to Atlanta, Georgia cost the company a lot of money and much of it was not spent wisely. The CIO and CAO were

heading it up and spending the money, thus making them the fall guys.


The current failing at ORIX reportedly are not Holmes’s fault. The Credit Alliance

portfolio is losing big money, the original Palitz brothers had a way of

moving money around to make the company look good on paper and after they

sold and left the problems didn't surface until the economy took a dive.


What the problem may be appears complicated with several stratums of organization,

and the market place. Is the finance business like football, when the team isn’t winning,

you get rid of the coach? Leasing is quite different, you say, perhaps, because the marketplace is what you “conquer,” not the other team. Or is it? To win more deals?

To win more games.


Holmes will be at the Equipment Leasing Association Conference in San Diego, California. Ask him yourself, if you are there. Insiders tell Leasing News

he has been having trouble with some of his top staff. In fact some were allegedly flat or insubordinate. Maybe they are to blame. Perhaps blame the Credit Alliance history or blame the economy it doesn't matter.


One insider said New York is driving the show and Holmes has been a figure head for some time. The Japanese, this insider says, have planted a person from California to run the operations and "report" to Gary K. Gusoff, group president, serving on the OFS board of directors.


Gusoff is certainly concerned. Holmes will deny he is on his way out. Leasing

News would like to ask him if it is true or not true. How much money did the US group lose last year and are they going to repeat it again this year?



Those on the inside, and also competitors, such as CIT, tell Leasing News that it will

be Orix’s loss without him. This article is not about whether he is doing a good

job or not. The people who Leasing News spoke to on the agreement

their names would not be revealed say Gusoff has to dig a bit deeper and root out the real problems.


In football, they let go the coach, and often his staff follows him. Maybe Holmes

should be looking at his staff first. If they don’t see the big picture, and carry out the game plan agreed to, you are bound to fail.


It is said Holmes has surrounded himself with people he knew, not people committed to the success of the team.

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