At Last, it is a Heaven of Nomura Old Boys, but Illness and Resignation made Kitao Alone, and the Last Lieutenant is….
December 20, 2013
That person lives in a grandiose house located in Yokohama, along the Tokyu lines. The name is Yasutaro Sawada, former president of SBI Securities until March. Unlike other ex-Nomura, he was known to be moderate, and conscientious, and that made him to be a “concierge” of Yoshitaka Kitao, handling all chores of the hard-nosed president of SBI Holdings. A sudden turn of tide occurred to Sawada in 2013. His behavior started to be erratic and prowling office with blank eyes. He attracted sympathies of others. His former colleagues of Nomura invited him to dine, trying to solace him, but he did not show up. FACTA contacted him right after he resigned. Clad in jeans, he came out of house gate quizzically, green around the gills and looked very ill. He nodded in our questions, but no definite answer came back. We made a few attempt to visit his house, but no definite response came, but recently, he started to mumble some words; “In my position, I may be in future to talk or may not talk….”. Having been distracted on nerves, Sawada’s working life was ruined. A couple of months later, the executive director who was in charge of overseas investment, Shinji Yamauchi also resigned. “He does not listen to any advise…”. That was Yamauchi’s last view on Kitao. We know of one person who became director even before Sawada and Yamauchi, but eventually forced out of SBI. This former director talk: “SBI is in principle, Nomura kingdom. Non-Nomura guy like myself are not trustworthy at last. Kitao-san claims he esteems results, but he protects ex-Nomura after all. Yamauchi was an ex-trading firm, so…”. He says his own departure was engineered by Taro Izuchi, the executive vice president and right hand man of Kitao. Izuchi was Kitao’s direct lieutenant from Nomura days, and joined Softbank by Kitao’s call, and long has been his loyal sidekick. Wags call him as “Kitao’s Hachi-ko (a dog who was waiting his owner at Shibuya Station every day)”. Now, even such a loyal guy may be in a trouble. A SBI person says that Izuchi’s appearance became sporadic, and he does not come to office lately. Fresh with memories of nerve-broken Sawada, SBI employees are busy rumoring on whereabouts of the EVP. If Izuchi falls ill, Kitao’s only sidekick left out would be Takashi Nakagawa, ranked number three and Senior Managing Director. Nakagawa joined SBI from Fuji Bank (now Mizuho Bank). “Nakagawa is loyal and obedient to Kitao. In complying Kitao’s thorny reprimanding remarks and impossible orders, Nakagawa never says no”, a SBI old boy state. Nakagawa had a car-accident in the bank and resigned in despair, but picked up by Kitao at Softbank Investment. Therefore, no matter how irrational, he needs to follow Kitao’s path. Grown up in Hokkaido, northern Japan, Nakagawa depicts himself to his colleagues; “I am from Hokkaido, a dosanko, so hardened with severe snowstorms, therefore I got gutsCivil Rehabilitation Act, and I never give up anything.” Nakagawa is a pagan among ex-Nomura dominated SBI. One investor who dealt with SBI remembers he had a strange feeling on Nakagawa and his subordinate, Junichi Kitazawa, who worked in SBI twice, and left on July 2013. Kitazawa is more irregular than Nakagawa, because of his unique carrier. After he retired from SBI first time, he moved to J-Bridge, an obscure listed company which was molested by people deeply involved in the Olympus debacle. Afterwards, he worked as a director of Trans Digital, a notorious IT-related company whose presidents and others were arrested due to a breach of the Civil Rehabilitation Act by providing collateral to selected creditors. Hiroaki Hayashi, a guy who traced same course with Kitazawa, was also an ex-Softbank Investment. After working in two companies which involved in criminal history of Japan’s finance, Kitazawa came back to SBI, invited by Nakagawa. What Nakagawa expected to him, and what Kitazawa was trying to do? And Izuchi. It is noteworthy to watch the disappeared “Last lieutenant”. Employees reflect the nature of the company. These illness and defection may be an omen of SBI.