Keidanren taps BT Japan president as first female executive


Keidanreen said Monday it has tapped Haruno Yoshida, president of BT Japan, the local arm of British telecom company BT Group PLC, to become its first female executive in June.

The country’s largest business lobby, also known as the Japan Business Federation, said Yoshida, 50, will be appointed as a vice chairwoman of the Board of Councilors, which serves as an advisory body to Keidanren chief Sadayuki Sakakibara.

The move is in line with Keidanren’s call for its around 1,300 member companies to adopt plans to appoint more female board members and managers, amid government efforts to bolster women’s advancement in the workforce.

Only 16 Keidanren member companies are headed by women at present.

Apart from Yoshida, Keidanren said it has tapped 10 others to be vice chairmen of the board. Their appointments will be effective June 2.

“We would like to broaden opportunities for women’s active participation (in the workforce),” Sakakibara, 71, told a news conference, in explaining the reason for appointing Yoshida.

The Keidanren chairman said he hopes Yoshida’s appointment will be “the first step” in enabling women to be more active in the workforce.

Yoshida became president of BT Japan in January 2012. A graduate of Keio University, she has worked in telecommunications in Japan and abroad, including at Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. group companies.

The others tapped to be board vice chairmen include Kyohei Takahashi, the 70-year-old representative director and chairman of the board of Showa Denko K.K.; Takashi Yamauchi, the 68-year-old president and chief executive officer of Taisei Corp.; and Shigeharu Suzuki, the 67-year-old chairman of the board of Daiwa Securities Group Inc., according to the lobby.