Kazuhiko Kasai, SoftBank Director Who Led Hawks Team, Dies at 76

Kazuhiko Kasai, the SoftBank Corp. board member who led the company’s baseball team to a Japan Series championship title in 2011, has died. He was 76.

His death was announced by the company in a filing to the Tokyo Stock Exchange today. Kasai became a director at Japan’s third-largest wireless carrier in 2000 and has been president of the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks team since 2005, according to the company’s website.

Before joining Tokyo-based SoftBank, Kasai worked in the finance industry after joining Fuji Bank Ltd. in 1959 and was executive vice president of the lender in 1992, according to the Website. His other roles include Chairman of Yasuda Trust & Banking Co., a predecessor to Mizuho Financial Group Inc., before becoming a corporate adviser to the SoftBank in 2000.

“Kasai has made a big contribution to SoftBank with his abundant experience in finance,” company Chairman Masayoshi Son said in a statement to the Tokyo Stock Exchange. “He made a great effort to manage the SoftBank Hawks as president. There are many executives and employees who liked Kasai because he was fair and cordial.”

The 2011 Japan Series victory was the first under SoftBank’s ownership and its fifth in total. The Hawks won 73, lost 69 and had two draws this year, placing fourth in their division this year. The team didn’t make the playoffs.

SoftBank has been involved in at least 12 deals in the past year, topped by its $21.6 billion acquisition of Sprint Corp.

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