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Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2012

JAL to appoint first ex-pilot president to steer new team, fall TSE relisting


Staff writer

Japan Airlines Corp. will appoint Senior Managing Executive Officer Yoshiharu Ueki as its new president following a shareholders' meeting in February, a move intended to strengthen its new management team ahead of its relisting later this year.

Current President Masaru Onishi will become JAL chairman, while current Chairman Kazuo Inamori will serve as honorary chairman, the carrier said Tuesday.

Inamori, however, said he will leave the airline next January in line with his promise at the time he joined JAL in Feburary 2010 to help rehabilitate the company.

"I thought it's very important to establish a new management team with JAL-bred employees while I'm still here," Inamori, 79, told a news conference in Tokyo.

Inamori said he will step back from JAL's management and devote his final year with the company to nurturing new managers.

The 59-year-old Ueki, who joined JAL in 1975, will become the first ex-pilot to serve as the carrier's president. He was appointed to his current post in December 2010.

"I learned about management from Inamori from zero knowledge. . . . I will use all the knowledge I was taught in managing the airline," said Ueki, who worked as a JAL pilot for about 35 years.

After the shareholders' meeting, state-backed Enterprise Turnaround Initiative Corp. of Japan will withdraw two of the three executives it sent to serve on JAL's board, Akitoshi Nakamura and Koichi Mizutome, allowing the carrier's new management to act independently.

ETIC, which currently holds more than 90 percent of JAL's voting rights, hopes to take JAL public again this autumn.

JAL filed for bankruptcy protection on Jan. 19, 2010, and completed a court-led rehabilitation process last March.



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