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Kawasaki Heavy axes president over Mitsui Engineering integration talks

Kyodo

Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd. said Thursday it has dismissed its president, Satoshi Hasegawa, in connection with his push for integration talks with another company.

Together with the surprise announcement regarding the removal of Hasegawa, 65, from his post, Kawasaki Heavy said it will scrap integration talks with Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding Co. due to internal opposition.

Shigeru Murayama, senior vice president, was promoted to president effective Thursday.

At his first news conference as president, Murayama, 63, said Hasegawa had “pushed integration talks without consultation.”

Kawasaki Heavy said it had also dismissed Mitsutoshi Takao, 63, senior executive vice president, and Masahiko Hirohata, 61, a senior vice president, during an ad hoc board meeting.

The dismissals marked a rare change of leadership just before a regular shareholders’ meeting, which will take place June 26.

Hasegawa became president in 2009 and Murayama had served as senior vice president since June 2010.

Murayama said a “sense of mistrust had developed” regarding the way Hasegawa and the two others were pursuing the integration talks, adding they acted as if the matter was a “foregone conclusion” and “disregarded the board.”

But he did not elaborate on the reason for the opposition to the integration talks, citing confidentiality.

Mitsui Engineering immediately released a statement saying it was “surprised” and voiced “regret” over the sudden turn of events.

Facing a sluggish global shipbuilding market, the two companies began preliminary talks in April on the possible integration of their businesses.

The integration would have created a giant in the shipbuilding-heavy machinery industry, with combined consolidated sales of over ¥1.8 trillion, second only to Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd.