Face creams from the new Kanebo brand

TOKYO—Kanebo Cosmetics sais Friday that its president and representative director, Masumi Natsusaka, will step down at the end of the year. The company has appointed Yoshihiro Murakami as his successor, effective Jan. 1.

Murakami joined Kao Corp., the parent company of Kanebo, in 1986 and currently serves as president of its global skincare business. The executive, 54, is a graduate of Rikkyo University, one of Tokyo’s leading institutions of higher education.

Natsusaka has been the president of Kanebo since 2012, leading the company through a voluntary recall of over 50 products due to white splotches on some customers’ skin caused by the quasi-drug ingredient Rhododenol. After the recall, Natsusaka restructured and made improvements to the company’s customer response bureau.

Last year Kanebo launched a line of prestige skincare and makeup products in Japan under the same brand name. In September, it brought the line to the European market as well. With the new brand, the prestige line Sensai in Europe, the Middle East and South Africa, and the mass market brand Kate in Asia, Kanebo has been making efforts to strengthen its global reach and influence in recent years.

In its most recent fiscal year, ended Dec. 31, 2016, Kao Corp.’s net profit grew 20.3 percent to 126.55 billion yen ($1.17 billion). The company’s net sales for the same period fell 1.1 percent to 1.46 trillion yen. Excluding the effect of currency translation, yearly sales would have increased by 3.2 percent.

Kao Corp. ranked eighth on WWD Beauty Inc.’s 2016 list of Top 100 Beauty Companies, coming in second among Japanese beauty companies after Shiseido, which took the fifth spot.

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