Business / Corporate

Ex-chief of Japan Business Federation set to lead scandal-hit Kepco

Kyodo

A former chief of Japan’s most powerful business lobby group is expected to become the new chairman of Kansai Electric Power Co., sources close to the matter said Thursday, as the firm aims to improve governance following a corruption scandal.

Sadayuki Sakakibara, 76, was previously chairman of chemical fiber-maker Toray Industries Inc. and from 2014 to 2018 was the head of the Japan Business Federation, widely known as Keidanren. He is set to assume his new position at Kansai Electric following approval at a general stockholders’ meeting in June.

Sakakibara has accepted the Osaka-based utility’s offer to take on the role, the sources said.

He will fill the position vacated by former Chairman Makoto Yagi, who stepped down last October to take responsibility over the scandal that exposed shady ties between the nation’s nuclear industry and local public officials.

Kansai Electric’s third-party panel found that 75 people including company executives received a total of some ¥360 million ($3.3 million) in cash and gifts from Eiji Moriyama, the late former deputy mayor of Takahama, Fukui Prefecture. The town hosts one of Kansai Electric’s nuclear plants.

The panel also proposed appointing a chairman from outside Kansai Electric in its final report, submitted last Saturday.

The company promoted Executive Vice President Takashi Morimoto to president last Saturday, replacing Shigeki Iwane who stepped down the same day as Yagi also to take responsibility over the scandal.

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