By  on June 9, 2010

TOKYO—Issey Miyake Inc. has promoted an inside man to be its next president.

The Japanese fashion house said Tuesday that Masakatsu Nagatani, a longtime employee with a background in finance, will replace an outgoing Nobuyuki Ota. The change will take place July 1. Ota departure was reported Tuesday in these columns.

A native of  Nagoya, Nagatani is a lifelong employee of the group. He joined the company's accounting department right after he finished his business degree at Nihon University. He also did a stint at A-net Inc., a subsidiary comprising a series of small Japanese brands including Zucca, Tsumori Chisato, Sunao Kuwahara and Mercibeaucoup. Most recently he was the director of the accounting department. He became an Issey Miyake board member in 2006.

“I would like to make a great company strong enough to survive in a rapidly changing environment,” Nagatani said at a press conference here. Referencing the rise of fast fashion brands, the new executive said his priorities are to improve the quality of the house’s collections and retail staff.

Ota, a 57-year-old who has led the company for 10 years, said it was time to pass the baton to the “next generation” of company employees. The outgoing executive said Nagatani inherits a company that is a good position after recent restructuring efforts, which included last year’s closing of underperforming stores in New York and London. For the year ended March 2009, Issey Miyake posted turnover of 10.71 billion yen, or $116.80 million at average exchange.

“Probably [Nagatani] can make the company much stronger,” Ota said.

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