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Itochu to appoint tech-savvy officer as president and COO

Current company head to remain as CEO to oversee group strategy

TOKYO -- Japanese trading company Itochu announced on Thursday that it is promoting Yoshihisa Suzuki, its senior managing executive officer, to president and chief operating officer, effective April 1. Suzuki has extensive experience in information technology.

Yoshihisa Suzuki, president-to-be of general trader Itochu

In addition to his role as COO, the 62-year-old Suzuki will be tasked with creating new businesses.

Masahiro Okafuji, the current president and CEO, will become chairman but remain as CEO to continue overseeing Itochu's overall business strategy.

After joining Itochu in 1979, Suzuki served a long stint in the company's aircraft-related business and was also instrumental in Itochu's foray into the IT sector. He became an executive officer in 2003 while still in his 40s.

In 2011, Suzuki became vice president of Jamco, a Tokyo-based aircraft component manufacturer affiliated with Itochu. While president of Jamco, he got the company listed on the first section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange and went on to become Itochu's senior managing executive officer in 2016.

Currently, Suzuki oversees Itochu's information and communication technology and financial business operations.

Okafuji, who became president in 2010, has steered Itochu toward areas other than resources, especially in the consumer-related sector, including textiles, food, real estate and financial services.

He later struck capital alliance deals with Charoen Pokphand Group -- the largest conglomerate in Thailand -- and China's Citic.

Okafuji also helped create FamilyMart Uny Holdings through the 2016 management integration of convenience store operators FamilyMart -- an Itochu affiliate -- and Uny Group Holdings. 

Under his leadership, Itochu became the top net profit earner among Japan's general trading companies in the year ended March 2016.

Okafuji will continue to spearhead cooperation with Citic.

(Nikkei)

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