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Mizuho CEO Yasuhiro Sato to be succeeded by securities chief Tatsufumi Sakai

Kyodo

Mizuho Financial Group Inc. said Monday that President and CEO Yasuhiro Sato will be succeeded by Tatsufumi Sakai, head of the group’s securities unit, effective April 1.

Sato, 65, has headed Japan’s third-largest banking group by assets since 2011. He will assume the vacant position of chairman.

Sakai, who is Sato’s junior by seven years, will be tasked with overhauling the group, including a reduction of 19,000 workers over the next nine years and ramping up the use of artificial intelligence and other innovative technologies.

He sees “opportunity” in the changing financial landscape and will put his “heart and soul” into ensuring the group continues to thrive, he told a news conference in Tokyo.

At the same conference, Sato said he chose Sakai to succeed him to send a “strong message that our group sees securities as the key to our growth going forward.”

Koichi Iida, the group’s managing executive officer, will succeed Sakai as president of Mizuho Securities Co.

Under Sato’s leadership, the group consolidated the operations of its corporate and retail banking units into Mizuho Bank.

The outgoing group CEO also strove to quash conflict between factions within the group consisting of former members of its pre-merger predecessors — Fuji Bank, Dai-ichi Kangyo Bank, and the Industrial Bank of Japan — the latter of which Sakai joined in 1984 before making his way through the group’s ranks.

In 2013, authorities investigated the group for loans given out to organized crime groups, a scandal that saw Sato’s pay docked and led him to be called to testify in the Diet.