OSAKA - Japanese sportswear giant Descente will remove a founding family member as president in a move designed to end a monthslong dispute and appease its largest shareholder, trading house Itochu, Nikkei has learned.
Shuichi Koseki, 63, senior managing executive officer at Itochu, will replace Masatoshi Ishimoto, 56.
The companies are expected to announce the switch as early as Monday after ironing out the details.
Koseki, who doubles as head of Itochu's textile segment, has been set to step down at the end of March. The exact date he will take the helm at Descente was still being discussed.
The move appeared to be the end of a long tussle over management at the sportswear maker. The dispute surfaced last summer between Itochu seeks better management at Descente, and Descente, which wants to protect its autonomy. This led to a tender offer by Itochu, and a tug of war continued even after the hostile takeover -- seen as the first between major Japanese companies -- succeeded earlier this month. Itochu now has a 40% stake, enough to give it veto power over major decisions.
Descente is also expected to reshuffle its board of directors - another one of Itochu's demands. The trading house had called for Descente's board to be comprised of two members each from Descente and Itochu as well as two outside directors. Currently, the board has six members from Descente, two from Itochu and two outside directors.
Koseki is expected to focus on strengthening Descente's Chinese operations by drawing on his experience working in China while at Itochu.
Ishimoto, who became president in 2013, is a member of Descente's founding family. Three Descente presidents who came before him all hailed from Itochu.