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U-shin President Tanabe Turns to Newspaper Ad to Find Successor

U-Shin Ltd., a Japanese manufacturer that supplies Volkswagen AG and other carmakers, will run newspaper advertisements seeking a young, English-speaking president from outside the company.

“We are looking for someone aged 30 to 49 who can negotiate directly with the top management of foreign companies,” President Koji Tanabe, who has headed Tokyo-based U-Shin since 1978, said yesterday by telephone, confirming a report in the Sankei newspaper.

Japanese companies typically promote top managers from within their ranks. Exceptions include Howard Stringer, who spent more than 30 years in broadcasting in the U.S. before joining Sony Corp., and Nissan Motor Co.’s Carlos Ghosn, who was recruited from Renault SA in 1999.

The job’s starting salary of 35 million yen ($394,000) may be increased according to performance and the offer is open to non-Japanese, Tanabe said. The ad will run in the morning editions of the Yomiuri and Nikkei newspapers on July 25.

“Unfortunately, the seniority system remains strong in our company and many of our elderly employees aren’t competitive,” Tanabe, 76, said. “Also, there is no one who can speak English. But I’m confident that we can find a good candidate through the advertisement.”

U-shin, which has posted net losses in three of the past five business years, forecasts a 2.5 billion yen profit for the year ending Nov. 30 as it adds revenue from new customers. The company, whose stock has climbed 54 percent this year, makes components including car lock sets and keyless entry systems.

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