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Uniqlo owner Yanai to leave SoftBank board after 18 years

Charismatic executive to focus on Fast Retailing's global expansion

Tadashi Yanai is stepping down from Softbank Group's board to focus on running Fast Retailing, the Uniqlo franchise operator. (Nikkei montage)

TOKYO -- Fast Retailing CEO Tadashi Yanai will leave SoftBank Group's board on Dec. 31, SoftBank announced on Friday, ending an 18-year tenure at the Japanese technology conglomerate.

Yanai joined SoftBank's board as an independent director in June 2001. He is now stepping down to "focus on his main job" of running Fast Retailing, which operates the Uniqlo franchise, according to a Fast Retailing spokesperson. The decision came "as we expand abroad while strengthening our business bases in Japan," the person added. Uniqlo recently opened stores in Vietnam and India.

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