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Prince Hotels’ Sekine tapped as new head of Shoko Chukin

Jiji Press

Masahiro Sekine

Jiji Press TOKYO (Jiji Press) — The government approved the appointment of Prince Hotels Inc. executive Masahiro Sekine as the next president of state-backed Shoko Chukin Bank, which has been damaged by a lending scandal, at a Cabinet meeting on Friday.

The appointment of Sekine, 60, who spent many years at Mizuho Financial Group Inc., will take effect on March 27, following an extraordinary shareholders’ meeting of the embattled bank.

Kenyu Adachi, the current president of the bank and a former top bureaucrat at the Economy, Industry and Trade Ministry, has made it clear that he intends to step down.

Sekine is a “financial professional familiar with actual business operations,” Industry Minister Hiroshige Seko told a press conference following the cabinet meeting. “He’s the best person to lead Shoko Chukin Bank to a fresh start,” Seko added.

Sekine joined Dai-Ichi Kangyo Bank, one of the predecessors of the Mizuho group, in 1981.

He moved to Seibu Railway Co. in 2007 and became a Prince Hotels director in June 2009. The railway and hotel operators are both owned by Seibu Holdings Inc.

Before Tetsuo Seki, hailing from Nippon Steel Corp., a predecessor of Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp., became president of Shoko Chukin Bank in 2008, the top job at the lender had always gone to former officials from the ministry. The bank became a stock company in 2008.

However, the amakudari custom of a former ministry official heading the state-backed lender was revived in 2013.

Last year, Shoko Chukin Bank was slapped with a business improvement order twice for repeating irregularities under a system that allows low-interest loans to be extended to small businesses in trouble.

On Thursday, a panel of experts appointed by the Industry Ministry said the government should decide whether or not it will fully privatize the bank in four years.Speech

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