Toray chief Sakakibara will lead Keidanren

Kyodo, JIJI

The nation’s most influential business lobby plans to appoint Toray Industries Inc. Chairman Sadayuki Sakakibara as its next chairman, Keidanren officials said Thursday.

Sakakibara, 70, accepted the request to assume the chairmanship at the group’s general meeting in June, they said. He will replace 76-year-old Hiromasa Yonekura, who has led the group since 2010.

Keidanren will officially announce the appointment of Sakakibara, after a meeting on Tuesday, according to informed sources.

Sakakibara served as Keidanren’s vice chairman from 2007 to 2011.

Keidanren usually selects its leader from current vice chairmen, so the choice of a former vice chairman is rare.

Sakakibara is also a private-sector member of the government’s council to boost industrial competitiveness.

Before becoming chairman of the major fiber and textile maker in 2010, Sakakibara served as president, overseeing the company’s shift to carbon fiber used in aircraft as its mainline operation.

It is the first time Keidanren has picked someone from Toray to head the group.

In recent years, Keidanren chiefs have served four-year stints.

Hitachi picks president

BLOOMBERG

Hitachi Ltd. is promoting Senior Vice President Toshiaki Higashihara, replacing Hiroaki Nakanishi, who will be elevated to chairman.

Higashihara will take on his new role April 1, according to a statement sent Wednesday to the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Nakanishi will also become Hitachi’s chief executive officer.

Hitachi has merged units, pared costs and cut television output under Nakanishi to help improve competitiveness against Siemens AG and General Electric Co.

The Tokyo-based company has over the past three years sold its hard-disk drive business and announced plans to merge the energy-equipment businesses with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd.

The industrial manufacturer is focusing on expanding its infrastructure business and is setting up a factory in the U.K. to build trains after winning a tender in the country in 2012.

Hitachi will also consider expanding the U.K. facility or opening a railcar plant in Germany, Nakanishi said last month.

Higashihara, 58, is currently in charge of the company’s infrastructure and medical businesses, according to the statement.

He joined the company in 1977, it said.