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Japan's top staffer Recruit to be led by 45-year-old CEO

Idekoba will target foreign acquisitions and keep eye on Big Tech's move into staffing

Recruit has long dominated Japan's market for staffing services, but it is now looking to expand abroad while investing in technology. (Photo by Akira Kodaka)

TOKYO -- Japan's No. 1 staffing agency Recruit Holdings appointed 45-year-old Executive Vice President Hisayuki Idekoba as president and CEO, the company said Wednesday, looking to expand the use of digital technologies and overseas acquisitions under a new leader.

Idekoba, who succeeds current CEO Masumi Minegishi on April 1, will be Recruit's first new president in nine years. He joined the company in 1999 after graduating from Japan's Waseda University.

The new CEO has played a key role in the agency's digital shift, including its 2012 acquisition of job search website Indeed, which he helped expand as its CEO. He was appointed to Recruit's board in 2019 and as executive vice president in 2020.

"Hisayuki is a strategic thinker, capable of operationalizing our vision, with profound knowledge and experience in technology-based businesses with a global perspective," Minegishi said Wednesday, expressing high hopes for his successor. Minegishi will become chair of Recruit's board following the handover.

Recruit accelerated its overseas strategy around 2011, aggressively acquiring human resources startups in Europe and the U.S. Overseas revenue, which then accounted for less than 10% of the company's total, has increased to about 45% for the year ended March 2020.

Hisayuki Idekoba will become CEO Recruit on April 1.

Recruit's market capitalization also has roughly quadrupled from its initial public offering in 2014 to about 7 trillion yen ($67.4 billion).

Embracing new technologies through acquisitions and other options will be crucial to Recruit's growth.

"Recruit is still a small company" compared with U.S. tech giants like Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon, which are making inroads in staffing services, Idekoba said.

Recruit seeks further inroads in software as a service, like its e-payment service AirPay.

"I hope to proactively speak with companies that own great technology" related to staffing services, he said.

Demand for job placements and advertising has decreased amid the coronavirus pandemic, and Recruit expects net profit to decline for the year ending in March.

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