• Kyodo News


Kozo Hiramatsu, president of Livedoor Holdings Co., intends to resign after the Internet company holds its shareholders’ meeting in December, sources said Friday.

Hiramatsu is apparently ready to leave because he now believes the firm, which was tainted by securities fraud involving former executives, is back on track after engaging in restructuring measures, the sources said.

One of the candidates tipped to succeed Hiramatsu is Hironori Ishizaka, vice president of Tokyo consulting firm AlixPartners.

Ishizaka used to work for the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and was put in charge of restructuring former sundry goods and cosmetics maker Kanebo Ltd. and other firms while at the Industrial Revitalization Corp. of Japan.

IRCJ, a government turnaround body, was disbanded in March after restructuring several zombie companies.

Hiramatsu was president of accounting software maker Yayoi Co., a former Livedoor group firm, when the Internet venture’s fortunes took a serious turn for the worse with the arrest of Livedoor founder and former President Takafumi Horie and other top officials in January 2006 over securities law violations.

Hiramatsu then became an executive at Livedoor to bring the turmoil under control.

Livedoor has since reorganized and placed its operations under the control of a holding company. It has withdrawn from financial services and other nonessential businesses to focus on its Internet-related operations.

In the process, Yayoi was sold to MBK Partners, a Tokyo-based investment fund, in September.

Ishizaka is known to be well-versed in corporate legal matters, the kind of expertise that could prove useful in dealing with lawsuits filed by Livedoor shareholders, industry observers say.

Livedoor shareholders are seeking damages for losses incurred by financial fraud that led to the wildly popular issue’s delisting in April 2006.

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