By  on February 7, 2005

TOKYO — Shiseido held a special board meeting Friday to appoint president and chief executive officer Morio Ikeda to the position of chairman of the board and director. His successor, director Shinzo Maeda, was named representative director, president and ceo.

The appointments will become official upon approval during a general meeting of shareholders and directors scheduled for the end of June.

“Company-wide revitalization [has been] based on sales-front reforms, which have been promoted by president Ikeda upon assuming the post in 2001,” according to the Japanese beauty giant. “He has produced steady gains over the past four years in reforming both marketing and business contract structures, as well as building a supply-chain management structure.”

Ikeda accelerated expansion of Shiseido’s business in China in order to maintain gains achieved at high-end department stores. Starting in 2003, he also started cultivating the Chinese market through the specialty channel, negotiating contracts with over 300 locations to get Shiseido’s Chinese operations on track to further expansion.

Additionally, he implemented the so-called Special Early Retirement Incentive Plan targeting employees in their 50s in December. This was in line with the perceived need to restructure the labor force, rejuvenating and creating a dynamic corporate structure in order to ensure continuous growth.

During his four-year tenure, Ikeda laid the groundwork for an upcoming three-year plan, themed: “Growth and Rapid Progress,” which is scheduled to begin in April. Against this backdrop, the company decided it was time for a change in top management, since it would give Shiseido an opportunity to launch the three-year plan under the direction of a new president — a move that the company believes will ensure continued prosperity amid an increasingly fierce competitive environment.

Although Shiseido is having a hard time increasing sales and profits in the saturated domestic market, “Ikeda is not resigning or taking responsibility for the firm’s slow business,” the company stated. For the first nine months of the fiscal year ending in March, Shiseido’s sales inched up 0.6 percent to 347.7 billion yen, or $3.37 billion at average exchange rates.

Maeda, 57, joined Shiseido in 1970. After accumulating experience in mainstay cosmetics distribution channels like department and chain stores, he was appointed general manager of the company’s strategic planning department for cosmetics in 1996. The next year, he became the head of Shiseido’s Asia-Pacific regional headquarters, where he handled international business operations.

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