• Kyodo News

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Sumitomo Corp. said Monday its board decided to appoint Executive Vice President Susumu Kato as president of the trading house.

The management is to finalize the promotion after shareholders approve it in a June meeting. Kato, 59, will replace Motoyuki Oka, 63, who will take the post of chairman.

Kato, long in charge of trading in iron and steel, will take the presidency from the field as Sumitomo’s last four presidents have done since 1983.

The decision comes as no surprise, company sources said, as Kato, also director and president of Sumitomo Corp. of America with long overseas experience, had been seen as a probable candidate for the presidency.

Oka, who has led the trading house to achieve relatively favorable performances, will step down in accordance with the firm’s in-house rules that allow a president to hold the post for no longer than six years.

Kato, a graduate of Kobe University, joined Sumitomo in 1970. He held the position of senior managing executive officer and other posts before becoming executive vice president last month.

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