Kao Corp., the nation’s largest toiletry maker, said Monday its president and chief executive, Takuya Goto, will step down and 54-year-old Motoki Ozaki will succeed him.
Goto, who will assume the post of board chairman, denied the top management change has anything to do with the company’s aborted acquisition of Kanebo Ltd.’s cosmetics business.
The reshuffle will take effect after a shareholders’ meeting June 29.
“I had been saying I will step down before I lose my physical and mental strength,” Goto, 63, said in a surprise announcement.
Ozaki is a top official in Kao’s global fabric and home-care unit. He rose through the ranks by working in the company’s core businesses, including sanitary products and cosmetics.
Goto will be leaving the post after seven years in office. During his tenure, Kao released a series of hit products, including Econa cooking oil and Healthya green tea.
The company also expanded its overseas presence through mergers and acquisitions.
Despite fierce competition in its main household products market, the company is projecting a sixth straight year of record earnings for the year that ended in March, with 64 billion yen in net profit on revenue of 900 billion yen.
Yet in a blemish on his otherwise successful tenure, Kanebo in February snubbed Kao’s all but agreed upon offer to buy its cosmetics unit and instead sought help from the governmental Industrial Revitalization Corp. of Japan.
Goto said Monday his decision to step down was already made in early January.