Apr 1, 2015

Senior managing director Ikeda to be new MOL president

Junichiro Ikeda, senior managing executive officer (new president, left), Koichi Muto, president (right)

Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) announced on March 31 that president Koichi Muto will step aside to the post of chairman with the representative right and Junichiro Ikeda, senior managing executive officer, will become president with the representative right, both effective June 23. In a press briefing held at MOL's head office in Tokyo's Toranomon district on that day, Muto said, "Five years have passed since I assumed the presidency, and I've regarded the period of five years as a benchmark one since I was appointed president. This time I've passed the baton (sash) over to a next-generation president, who will take the leadership in revving up the engine of MOL on a growth path. Muto thus explained the succession of leadership, likening it to the traditional "ekiden" long-distance road relay race. Meanwhile, Ikeda, who is set to be new president of MOL, said, "(Having the tasuki (sash) handed from president Muto on) I will again start running. Considering the weight of MOL's long corporate history of 130 years as well as creative and innovative efforts predecessor MOL presidents have made thus far to overcome difficult situations with strong zeal for further advancement, I strongly feel these days the responsibility that I'll assume (as president of MOL) going forward. On his own missions, Ikeda stated, "The MOL group will strive to close in on the realization of its long-term vision of 'making it an excellent and resilient organization that leads the world shipping industry' by achieving the targets set in the current medium-term management plan. With such efforts, I intend to meet the expectations of MOL's stakeholders."

In his comments on Ikeda, Muto said, "The period in which Ikeda was in charge of the containership business is the longest in his career in MOL. But, he also worked with the Human Resources and Corporate Planning divisions as well. Right now he is a globetrotting executive officer in charge of the car carrier field. He knows everything about the MOL group at large. Having the experience and sense of global management, Ikeda is fully qualified for assuming the leadership in further pushing ahead with management of MOL's global group."

Muto is set to step aside to the post of chairman with the representative right. He said, "I've judged that it is necessary for me to take the post of chairman that has been vacant and manage MOL in a division of roles between the chairman and president so that MOL can bolster its corporate value even further. For my part, I would like to pay careful consideration especially to group companies in and outside MOL. I also, if time permitted, intend to be engaged in external activities.

During the press briefing, Ikeda said, "Every time I see major economic and business climate changes, I share the feelings predecessor MOL leaders had in hammering out the long-term vision of making MOL a 'resilient' organization. Based on this perception, I intend to make efforts going forward." As the images of the company Ikeda hopes to create, he cited "a trustworthy company its customers picture first and foremost in their pursuit of best business partner" and "a company with a culture that enables its group as a whole to discuss new and essential ideas and put them together while utilizing difficult situations as leverage."

Ikeda, 58, joined MOL's predecessor company in 1979 in which he mainly worked with the Liner Division. From June 2014, he served as director/senior managing executive officer in charge of the Human Resources and Liner divisions as well as the Car Carrier Division.

Muto was promoted from senior managing director to president in June 2010, succeeding Akimitsu Ashida, then president of MOL. Muto joined MOL in 1976. The succession of MOL president from Ashida to Muto lowered its top executive's age by 10 years. Muto, as president of MOL, pushed forward with its medium-term management plan "GEAR UP! MOL" covering three years from fiscal 2010 to 2012 (ended March 2013). Focusing on realizing profitability in fiscal 2013, he mapped out/implemented a single-year management plan "RISE 2013," putting on hold for one year work to draw up an ordinary three-year management plan. On the back of a recovery in the drybulk market as well as positive effects of the transfer of fleet ships centering on bulkers to its locally incorporated subsidiary in Singapore implemented in fiscal 2012, MOL restored profitability with an ordinary profit of Y55 billion in fiscal 2013, a turnaround from an ordinary loss of Y28.6 billion in fiscal 2012.

In fiscal 2014 that marked the 130th anniversary of its founding, MOL kicked off its new medium-term management plan covering three years from fiscal 2014 with an aim to pursue a "growth trajectory through successful execution of business structural reforms" as its main theme. With the reform of business portfolio, business model and business area, MOL is aiming to pile up its stable profit, beef up its cost competitive edge so that it can achieve steady growth.

Muto also pressed ahead with the bold transfer of MOL's tamper business to Singapore.

[Who is Junichiro Ikeda, next president of MOL]

Graduating from the Faculty of Law, the University of Tokyo, in March 1979, Ikeda joined MOL's predecessor company in April that year. He worked with London-based Mitsui OSK Lines (Europe) Ltd. in 1998 and became deputy general manager at MOL's Corporate Planning Division in 2001. He also served as general manager at the Human Resources Division in 2004, general manager at the Liner Division in 2007, executive officer (in charge of the Liner Division) in 2008, managing executive officer (in charge of the Liner Division) in 2010 and director/senior managing executive officer (in charge of supervising Human Resources and Liner divisions, and Research Office) in 2013. From June 2014, Ikeda serves as director/senior managing executive officer (in charge of supervising Human Resources, Liner and Car Carrier divisions). He was born in Nagano Pref. on July 16, 1956.

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