Mizuho Financial Group Inc. announced Monday that it has named chief executive Masahiro Kihara as chairman, as the beleaguered financial institution seeks to restore public confidence under new leadership after repeated system failures severely affected its operations. main banking unit.
The 56-year-old will replace Tatsufumi Sakai, 62, from February 1. Kihara is the older brother of Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Seiji Kihara.
Mizuho Financial has also tapped Vice Chairman Seiji Imai, 59, as its new chairman, effective April 1. He succeeds Yasuhiro Sato, 69.
The newly appointed president told a press conference that he would focus on “ensuring stable operation of the system and services” as a top priority.
“With careful consideration of the series of system failures, we will assure our customers of our unwavering determination” to revamp the group’s operations, Kihara said.
The new management team will be formed as Mizuho seeks to overhaul its rigid corporate culture, a major factor that has reportedly led to the 10 system outages of varying degrees it has experienced in less than a year.
Masahiro Kihara is pictured during a news conference in Tokyo January 17, 2022. Mizuho Financial Group Inc. named Kihara as its new chairman on the same day. (Kyodo)
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All eyes are now on the ability of Mizuho Bank, one of Japan’s megabanks, to make lasting improvements to its internal technology following six separate incidents that occurred even after it submitted evidence of measures to financial regulators in June. preventive measures it has implemented after four system failures encountered since February last year.
Mizuho Financial and Mizuho Bank again submitted business improvement plans to the Financial Services Agency on Monday in response to the latest errors.
The plans include steps to improve communication between management teams and on-site IT staff, as well as within the wider Mizuho Group, as called for in a business improvement order issued last November by the regulatory body.
Mizuho Financial said in November that Mizuho Bank Vice Chairman Masahiko Kato, 56, will replace Koji Fujiwara, 60, as the bank’s chairman, effective April 1.
When the FSA issued the improvement order, the agency said Mizuho Group cut IT staff and maintenance costs without a proper assessment of the risks the policy might pose.
Regulators also criticized the financial group’s corporate culture for “refraining from saying what needs to be said and only doing what has been asked”.
In the first case of system failure, transactions were temporarily suspended on February 28 last year at around 80% of its ATMs, with more than 5,000 bank cards and passbooks jammed inside the machines.
The latest incident on Tuesday last week caused problems for corporate customers when using online banking.