Business / Corporate

Overseas shareholders in Lixil Group withdraw extraordinary meeting request after chairman says he'll quit

JIJI

Foreign institutional investors in Lixil Group Corp. said Thursday they have withdrawn their request for an extraordinary shareholders meeting that was based on a proposal to dismiss Chairman Yoichiro Ushioda, after the chairman announced his intention to quit.

In the request the four investors, including U.K.-based Marathon Asset Management, questioned the leadership appointments announced in autumn last year in which Kinya Seto was dismissed as chief executive officer and Ushioda replaced him.

The four had sought the dismissal of Ushioda and Chief Operating Officer Hirokazu Yamanashi, who took over the post of president from Seto last month. Their request, made in March, was withdrawn because both Ushioda and Yamanashi announced in April their intention to quit the board of the maker of housing equipment.

In a statement, the four investors said the departures from the board would not fully resolve the corporate governance problem at Lixil Group.

It is necessary to elect a new management team without being pressured or influenced inappropriately, the statement said, requesting that the influence of founding family member Ushioda, in particular, be cut off.

Seto, who still sits on the board, aims to return to the company’s top leadership. As a shareholder, he will submit a list of director nominees who support him, at a regular shareholders meeting in June.