Japan Post’s New CEO Puts Growth Aside to Fix Scandal-Hit Group
Hiroya Masuda in Tokyo, Japan. (Photographer: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg)  

Japan Post’s New CEO Puts Growth Aside to Fix Scandal-Hit Group

(Bloomberg) -- Japan Post Holdings Co.’s new chief executive officer vowed to restore the group’s reputation and said it’s too soon to think about growing the business after an insurance scandal brought down his predecessor.

“My mission is to forge a solid footing,” Hiroya Masuda said Thursday at a news conference in Tokyo. “We have just received a business suspension order. We would lose investors’ trust if we talk about dreams.”

Japan Post’s New CEO Puts Growth Aside to Fix Scandal-Hit Group

A former bureaucrat-turned-politician, Masuda became president and CEO of the former state-run company earlier this week after Masatsugu Nagato stepped down following revelations of improper insurance sales practices.

Masuda said he faces a tough task restoring investor confidence at the 149-year-old postal giant. Aside from the scandal, Japan Post’s financial units are struggling under negative interest rates, while the mail service is turning to parcel delivery to make up for a decline in letter volumes.

Masuda, 68, said he turned down an earlier offer to helm the group late last year, but ultimately decided to accept out of a sense of duty. “I don’t think there’s anybody out there wanting to do this job,” he said.

Once a minister in charge of Japan Post, Masuda later served as chairman of a government panel overseeing the group’s privatization. The insurance scandal has complicated the state’s plans to reduce its stake further by selling shares in the holding company.

He said the company needs to make progress on privatization, which will give “more management freedom.” Still, he said he couldn’t give a timeframe for how long it should focus on regaining public trust before it can return to growth strategies.

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