Mitsui & Co. decided Tuesday to promote Shoei Utsuda, senior executive managing officer, to company president, company officials said.

Utsuda succeeds Shinjiro Shimizu, who is resigning over a bribery scandal.

According to company sources, the trading house will announce this week the resignation of Shimizu, 64, and Chairman Shigeji Ueshima, 71, due to revelations that the company bribed a senior Mongolian government official to secure orders for a Japanese government-financed power project.

Ueshima is also expected to quit as vice chairman of the Japan Business Federation (Nippon Keidanren), the sources said.

Mitsui has found it necessary to urgently reshuffle its top management in bid to regain credibility following a recent spate of scandals, a former Mitsui president said.

The officials said Mitsui hopes to recover the trust of customers by giving the top posts to younger executives and improving the management structure.

Utsuda, 59, has long been touted as Shimizu’s successor. He has headed the company’s strategic planning operations, said to be a prerequisite post for executives to reach the top in a trading house.

Utsuda joined Mitsui in 1967 after graduating from the University of Tokyo, and has worked in the electric machinery division — the same as Shimizu — and as head of the information-industry division.

The Tokyo District Public Prosecutor’s Office is reportedly preparing to investigate Mitsui’s role in the Mongolian power project, suspecting violation of a law banning bribery of foreign government officials.

Earlier this year, three Mitsui employees were indicted for interfering in bidding over a Japanese government-funded power generation project on Kunashiri Island, which is held by Russia and claimed by Japan, with the help of a Foreign Ministry official.

At the time, Shimizu said he would not resign over the scandal, as he would be at the helm for the creation of a “new Mitsui.”

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.