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Aeon exec to steer Daiei unit

Kyodo

A senior executive of retailer Aeon Co. will become the new president of Daiei Inc. after the superstore operator is turned into a subsidiary, sources said Monday.

Shouhei Murai, 63, spearheaded the effort to reform Aeon’s superstore business through cost-cutting and other measures. His appointment is expected to help return struggling Daiei to profitability.

The leadership revamp is set to be formally confirmed at Daiei’s general shareholder meeting in May.

With Murai’s appointment, Daiei President Michio Kuwahara, 64, and Daiei Chairman Yoshiharu Kawato, 69, will both retire. Kuwahara came from trading house Marubeni Corp. and Kawato from Aeon.

Murai became president of Aeon subsidiary Aeon Retail Co. in 2008 and assumed the post of chairman in March. He is responsible for its superstore business.

The change is likely to take place before Aeon kicks off its tender offer for Daiei, which is expected to be delayed until mid-July because the Japan Fair Trade Commission is taking longer to examine the deal than expected.