Business

Hitachi Chairman Hiroaki Nakanishi to head Keidanren business lobby

Kyodo, Staff Report

Keidanren has tapped Hitachi Ltd. Chairman Hiroaki Nakanishi as its next chief, the nation’s top business lobby said Tuesday.

The appointment was approved earlier in the day at a meeting of the body’s board of councilors. Nakanishi, 71, will be formally appointed at Keidanren’s general meeting on May 31, the lobby said, replacing 74-year-old Sadayuki Sakakibara, senior adviser at Toray Industries Inc.

The move marks the first time an executive from Hitachi, a major industrial machinery manufacturer, will assume Keidanren’s top post. Sakakibara had said he would pick his successor from current or former vice chairs, who are from strongly performing manufacturers.

Nakanishi was seen as a prominent candidate within Keidanren given his political ties and thorough knowledge of cutting-edge technologies, including artificial intelligence and robotics.

Keidanren chiefs in recent years have customarily served two two-year terms.

Nomura Holdings Inc. Chairman Nobuyuki Koga, 67, is expected to take the No. 2 post of board of councilors chairman, replacing Hiromichi Iwasa, chairman and chief executive officer of Mitsui Fudosan Co. Both Nakanishi and Koga currently serve as vice chairs.

Sakakibara’s tenure has been tainted due to a product data scandal at Toray Industries. Toray Hybrid Cord Inc., an Aichi-based subsidiary of Toray and maker of tire and other industrial reinforcement cords, said in late November it had identified 149 cases out of 40,000 in which two employees in charge of quality assurance modified figures.

In these cases, which occurred between 2008 and 2016, the strength of the materials did not meet the standards promised to customers.