Shiseido’s Maeda returns as president

JIJI

Major cosmetics maker Shiseido Co. said Monday that Chairman Shinzo Maeda will double as president from April 1, replacing Hisayuki Suekawa.

Suekawa, 53, will step down for health reasons only two years after taking the post in April 2011 at an unusually young age. He will also resign from the board of directors and become an adviser.

During his previous stint in the presidency for six years from 2005, Maeda, 66, achieved sustainable earnings growth. By making good use of the experience, Maeda aims to boost the company’s sluggish domestic cosmetics sales and revive its Chinese operations, which have been adversely affected by the row between Japan and China over the Senkaku Islands.

While Maeda was president, Suekawa acted as the brains behind Shiseido’s acquisition of major U.S. cosmetics company Bare Escentuals Inc. in 2010 and its medium-term business plan.

After succeeding Maeda, Suekawa worked to prop up domestic operations by starting online sales but fell short of expectations.

Shiseido expects to see its China sales, the core of its growth strategy, fall in the year ending this month, making it difficult to achieve a double-digit annual sales growth target.