Chamber of Commerce appoints Nippon Steel’s Mimura as next head

JIJI, Kyodo

The Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Thursday said Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. adviser Akio Mimura will take over as chairman from Tadashi Okamura once his term runs out later this year.

The JCCI is expected to formalize the appointment at its annual general meeting in November.

Mimura is expected to serve as JCCI chairman for three years. He will double as chairman of the Tokyo Chamber of Commerce and Industry, also taking over the post from Okamura, who is currently serving as an adviser at Toshiba Corp.

Mimura, 72, hails from Nippon Steel Corp., which merged with Sumitomo Metal Industries Ltd. to create Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal in October 2012. He will be the first JCCI chairman from the former Nippon Steel since Shigeo Nagano, who served in the top post at the business lobby from 1969 to 1984.

JCCI chairmen generally serve two three-year terms. Okamura, 74, is scheduled to reach the end of his second term in late October.

When he was serving as president of Nippon Steel, Mimura helped expand the firm’s capital and business alliances with Kobe Steel Ltd. and Sumitomo Metal in an effort to fend off a possible move to acquire the steelmaker by Luxembourg’s ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steelmaker.

While serving as Nippon Steel chairman, Mimura worked closely with then-Sumitomo Metal Chairman Hiroshi Shimozuma to lay the foundations for the merger of the two companies to help them survive growing international competition amid a rise of Chinese steelmakers.

Mimura joined Fuji Iron & Steel Co., a predecessor of Nippon Steel, in 1963. He became Nippon Steel president in 2003 and then chairman in 2008.

Mimura has been serving as an adviser to Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal since the establishment of the company last October.