Orix CEO Miyauchi to Step Down After Three Decades in Charge

Orix Corp. Chief Executive Officer Yoshihiko Miyauchi will step down after more than three decades in charge of the Japanese leasing and finance company that he helped establish.

Makoto Inoue, 61, who has been co-CEO since January, will succeed Miyauchi on June 24, subject to shareholders’ approval, the Tokyo-based company said in a statement today. Miyauchi, 78, will take on a new position as senior chairman advising the firm without being on the board, Orix said.

Miyauchi’s career at Orix stretches back to 1964, the year of the Tokyo Olympics, when he and 12 others founded the firm, according to material provided by the public relations office. Inoue takes charge of a company that’s been expanding abroad through acquisitions including the $2.5 billion purchase of Rabobank Groep’s asset management unit last year.

“Miyauchi has carefully prepared for his succession for a long time,” Takehito Yamanaka, an analyst at Credit Suisse Group AG in Tokyo, said by phone today. “The company may accelerate deals and strategies under Inoue, who has said he wants to assess business opportunities quickly.”

Orix today reported net income rose 67 percent to 186.8 billion yen ($1.8 billion) in the year ended March. Profit is forecast to climb 12 percent to 210 billion yen in the current fiscal year, it said in a statement.

Miyauchi’s Legacy

Miyauchi became CEO in 1980. Under his leadership, Orix entered markets overseas and diversified from leasing into financial services such as consumer credit, insurance and real estate. In 1988, the company bought a baseball team, where major-league veteran Ichiro Suzuki began his career.

An advocate of deregulation, Miyauchi advised prime ministers including Junichiro Koizumi as head of reform panels from 1996 to 2006. Current premier Shinzo Abe’s efforts to revive the Japanese economy depend on his ability to overcome regulatory hurdles, Miyauchi said in an interview last June.

“Over the past several years, I thought about the best way to pass the business on to the next generation,” Miyauchi said at a news briefing in Tokyo today. “I wanted the right person to take over while I’m still alive, and I thought that advising Orix from a different position would minimize risks in the future as well.”

Inoue, who joined Orix after graduating from Tokyo’s Chuo University in 1975, became president and chief operating officer in January 2011.

Orix plans to spend 150 billion yen on takeovers around the world in the next year, Inoue said in an interview on April 8. It announced more than 20 investments in companies over the past two years, the most of any Japanese financial firm. Orix agreed last month to buy U.S. insurer Hartford Financial Services Group Inc.’s Japanese operations for about $895 million.

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