• Kyodo News


Struggling apparel maker Renown Inc. said Wednesday all five board members, including President Minoru Nakamura, will resign in late May.

Nakamura, 58, who assumed his current post in March last year, will be succeeded by Minoru Kitabatake, the 47-year-old head of the planning department, the Tokyo-based company said.

The planned management change will be formally approved by the Renown board following a general shareholders’ meeting on May 28.

Renown said in a statement that it will have a younger management team now that it has “carried out drastic structural reform and almost completed establishing a (new) business base.”

But some Renown watchers say the decision to reshuffle the top management is possibly aimed at ducking a proposal from Neoline Capital Co., the firm’s biggest shareholder, to send three executives to the apparel maker’s board to maintain initiative in rebuilding its ailing operations.

Neoline Capital, a consumer loan firm and investment fund operator, is expecting Renown to turn its business around under the leadership of the three executives, including Takeshi Kimura, president of Incubator Bank of Japan.

Kitabatake joined Renown in 1985 after graduating from Meiji University in Tokyo and has held his current post since February.

Weak clothing sales forced Renown to book a group net loss in the year to Feb. 28 for the third consecutive year.

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