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Former Shiseido CEO Morio Ikeda Dead at 76

The cause of death was kidney cancer, according to a Shiseido spokesman, who added that Ikeda died Monday.

Morio Ikeda, formerly president and chief executive officer of Shiseido, has died. He was 76.

This story first appeared in the May 21, 2013 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The cause of death was kidney cancer, according to a Shiseido spokesman, who added that Ikeda died Monday.

Ikeda, who was president of Shiseido from 2001 to 2005, began his career at Shiseido in 1961. He was named executive vice president of the company in June 2000, becoming president and ceo in June 2001. He became chairman of Shiseido in June 2005, transitioning to a role as senior advisor in June 2006. In addition, he held several public offices, including chairman of the board of trustees and chancellor of Toyo Eiwa Jogakuin, a private girls’ academy in Tokyo that was founded in 1884 by a Canadian missionary.

Funeral details are private, according to the family, who also requested that their names not be shared with the media. After the private funeral service, the family is planning to hold a larger memorial service. Details have not yet been determined.

Ikeda, who gave a keynote speech at WWD’s Beauty CEO Summit in Evian, France, in 2002, joked that he often sounded “very much like a preacher,” perhaps unsurprisingly, as he once considered becoming a missionary — and, in fact, graduated from the Tokyo Union Theological Seminary — before joining Shiseido.

In 2002, Ikeda noted that he helped innovate Shiseido’s business structure through a simple rule. “My creed is service and sacrifice, upon which my business stance is also based,” said Ikeda. “The idea is to serve the needs of customers and business partners and to make their joy our own.”

In that speech, Ikeda explained that an organizational chart that Shiseido adopted, called the inverted pyramid, helped to explain this objective. At the top of the pyramid are the sales and marketing functions, which are closest to the company’s customers, he said. At the bottom are the president and the ceo. “I do not have to remind you that the cosmetics industry must be closest to customers, the users of our products,” he said. “From both a customer-oriented perspective and my personal creed embodying the serving spirit, I felt it was necessary to change the conventional pyramid-type organization.”