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KKR Hires Ex-Nikko Principal Chairman Hirano as Japan CEO

KKR Japan Incoming CEO Hirofumi Hirano
Hirofumi Hirano, former chairman of Nikko Principal Investments Japan Ltd., will become managing director and chief executive officer of KKR & Co.'s Japanese unit. Source: KKR & Co. via Bloomberg

April 10 (Bloomberg) -- KKR & Co. said it hired Hirofumi Hirano, the former chairman of Nikko Principal Investments Japan Ltd., to head its operations in the country.

Hirano, 52, will become managing director and chief executive officer of the New York-based private-equity firm’s Japanese unit on April 15, replacing Shusaku Minoda, who will become chairman, KKR said in a statement today. Hirano was previously at AlixPartners LLP, where he led the local business.

KKR, which formed its Japan unit in 2006, is strengthening its buyout business in the country, hiring directors from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and McKinsey & Co. earlier this year, as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s stimulus and monetary easing initiatives boost Japan’s business and investor sentiment.

The appointment of Hirano “is an important step forward as KKR continues to grow our private-equity franchise and broaden our focus to other areas of asset management and capital markets,” Joseph Bae, managing partner of KKR Asia, said in the statement.

Minoda, 61, who has been CEO in Japan for six years, will continue to maintain KKR’s relationships with clients and governments, Henry Kravis, the firm’s co-founder, said in the statement.

Hirano joined Nikko Securities Co. in 1983 after graduating from Keio University and became president of Nikko Principal in 2000 and chairman in 2004, leading the firm to invest 720 billion yen ($7.3 billion) in Japanese and U.K. companies and reaping 850 billion yen from the investments.

Hirano has a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Chicago.

To contact the reporter on this story: Takahiko Hyuga in Tokyo at thyuga@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chitra Somayaji at csomayaji@bloomberg.net

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