The Oldest Chief Executive in Japan Set to Retire at Age 95

The oldest head of a listed company in Japan has stepped down at the age of 95 following six decades in charge.

Nobutsugu Shimizu, the 95-year-old founder of Life Corp., stepped down Thursday after more than 60 years at the helm of the supermarket operator. At 95, Shimizu was the oldest chief executive in Japan, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, and is five years older than Warren Buffett, the oldest head of a U.S.-listed firm.

Shimizu founded the chain, which has about 280 outlets in Japan, in 1956 and has remained near the top ever since. He unsuccessfully ran for parliament in 2001 as a candidate for the ruling Liberal Democratic Party. In 2006, he handed off the role of president to Takaharu Iwasaki, who he spent two years recruiting from a position at Mitsubishi Corp. in the U.K., according to a 2015 interview. Mitsubishi holds more than 20% of Life’s shares.

He remained as CEO and chairman for another 15 years and even after his retirement, Shimuzu will retain the role of honorary chairman. The firm said in a statement that he intends to continue to contribute to the firm’s growth in his new role. His retirement will further reduce the average age of Tokyo’s CEOs, after Shintaro Tsuji, the former president of Hello Kitty creator Sanrio Co., stepped down last year replaced by his grandson.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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