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Calbee faces growth challenge as reformist CEO prepares to go

Japanese snack maker expands sales by 70% during Matsumoto's nine-year tenure

Retiring Chairman and CEO Akira Matsumoto, left, shakes hands with President Shuji Ito.

TOKYO -- Calbee turned itself from a struggling privately held maker of snacks like potato chips into a highly profitable public company under the leadership of Chairman and CEO Akira Matsumoto, a charismatic reformer whose retirement, announced Tuesday, surprised many.

The Japanese company said that Matsumoto, 70, will retire from both positions after a shareholders meeting in late June. He will not even stay on in an advisory capacity.

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