Nomura Securities Co. said April 22 that Managing Director Junichi Ujiie will assume its presidency May 1 in place of Masashi Suzuki. The move is aimed at improving the brokerage’s public image in the wake of a scandal involving shady stock deals and payments to a firm linked to a “sokaiya” corporate extortionist.

“This is the most serious crisis since the foundation of our company,” Ujiie told a news conference at the Tokyo Stock Exchange. “We would like to rebuild investor and shareholder trust.

“We would like to establish a more transparent management system with clear-cut rules,” said Ujiie, 51, who was tapped at an extraordinary board meeting earlier in the day to become president. Ujiie, a graduate of the school of economics at the University of Tokyo, joined Nomura in 1975. He has worked mainly in the international business field. He became managing director in June 1995.

Suzuki, 61, who is now serving as both president and chairman, will enter semiretirement by becoming a chairman without rights to represent the company. Suzuki assumed the presidency last month following the revelations of the scandal involving a corporate racketeer.

Fifteen other executives, including the five vice presidents and four senior managing directors who have the right to represent the company, will step down as of April 30 to take the blame for the scandal. Under the Corporate Law, the president and key executives of corporations are given representation rights, which enable them to represent their firms in contracts with others.

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