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Benesse taps McDonald’s Harada for president’s post

JIJI

McDonald’s Holdings Co. (Japan) Chairman Eiko Harada is expected to become chairman and president of education service provider Benesse Holdings Inc., informed sources said Thursday.

Benesse Holdings was slated to make the decision at a board meeting in the afternoon, with Harada, 65, to take up the post following a general shareholders’ meeting in late June, the sources said.

Harada will be tasked with shoring up the company’s struggling domestic education service, accelerate overseas operations and expand its nursing care business, the sources said.

Benesse has yet to decide how to treat current Chairman Soichiro Fukutake, 68, and President Tamotsu Fukushima, 61.

As of Tuesday, Harada stepped down as chairman and president of McDonald’s to be chairman with no rights to represent the firm. He became an outside board director of Benesse Holdings in June 2013.

As over half of Benesse Holdings’ sales come from domestic education services, such as Shinkenzemi correspondence courses for children, its earnings have been hurt by the falling birthrate.

For the business year ending this month, Benesse Holdings projects group sales of ¥470 billion, up 4.4 percent from the previous year, an operating profit of ¥34.6 billion, down 9.3 percent, and a net profit of ¥19 billion, down 10.2 percent.

After being president of the Japan unit of Apple Computer Inc., which later became Apple Inc., Harada became head of McDonald’s Holdings in 2004 and doubled as chairman in 2005.