Imai likely to become Mizuho Financial Group chairman

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Mizuho Financial Group Inc. is considering appointing Deputy President Seiji Imai, 59, to succeed outgoing Chairman Yasuhiro Sato, 69, sources said Thursday.

Mizuho Financial Group plans to promote Senior Executive Officer Masahiro Kihara, 56, to president to succeed Tatsufumi Sakai, 62, who will step down to take the blame for a series of system failures at its core banking arm, Mizuho Bank, the sources said.

Since February last year, Mizuho Bank has been hit by 10 system failures that affected customers. Under the new leaders, Mizuho Financial Group will work on drastic reform of the group’s management and governance systems to prevent any recurrence of a system glitch, the sources said.

Imai in 1986 joined Dai-Ichi Kangyo Bank, one of the three banks that created the Mizuho group through business integration. He currently serves as head of operations for large and global companies after taking up such posts as head for the Asian and Oceanian region.

The group was formed in 2000 through the integration of Dai-Ichi Kangyo Bank, Fuji Bank and Industrial Bank of Japan.

Kihara is from Industrial Bank of Japan. Mizuho Bank Deputy President Masahiko Kato, 56, who will become president of the bank April 1, is from Fuji Bank.

Over the system failures, the Financial Services Agency issued business improvement orders to Mizuho Financial Group and Mizuho Bank in September and November last year.

Sakai and Mizuho Bank President Koji Fujiwara, 60, will resign from their posts over the failures, while Sato is set to quit as Mizuho Financial Group chairman April 1.

In its order in November, the FSA told Mizuho Financial Group and Mizuho Bank to submit business improvement plans by Monday.

Mizuho Financial Group plans to hold a board meeting also Monday, planning to decide on the appointments of Imai and Kihara, the sources said.