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Mizuho UPDATE2

January 23, 2014

TOKYO , Jan. 23 -- ( Kyodo ) _ (EDS: UPDATING WITH MORE INFO) Mizuho Financial Group Inc. said Thursday that Yasuhiro Sato will step down as president of its core banking unit Mizuho Bank on April 1 and Deputy President Nobuhide Hayashi will take the helm of the bank following the megabank's involvement in loans to gangsters. Sato will stay on as president and chief executive officer of Mizuho Financial Group , with an eye to strengthening the role of the holding company to oversee operations and governance of the group's units, he said. He will also remain as a board member of Mizuho Bank without the right to represent the bank. "I want to put an end" to my role as the bank chief after submitting a business improvement plan to the Financial Services Agency last Friday, Sato said at a news conference in Tokyo . The 61-year-old Sato, who earlier denied he intended to step down, said he could not announce his resignation until his successor was determined. "While I've been doubling as president of both Mizuho Bank and the holding company, the latter's role has become considerably bigger," Sato said, vowing to focus on his role to lead the Mizuho group. Incoming Mizuho Bank President Hayashi said he will support Sato and help the group boost governance. "Mizuho's brand has been harmed," the 56-year-old Hayashi said at the news conference. "I'd like to rebuild Mizuho's brand." The announcement comes after the major financial group was punished last month by the Financial Services Agency over the bank's involvement in transactions with members of organized crime groups. The scandal over shady loans came to light in late September when the FSA ordered Mizuho Bank to improve its operations after the bank left the matter unattended for over two years after learning of the problem. The bank and the holding company have admitted to lending more than 200 million yen to gangsters through Orient Corp. , mostly in the form of auto loans. In October, Mizuho Bank took internal disciplinary action against 54 current and former executives, mostly with pay cuts and waivers. Last month, Mizuho Financial Group said Chairman Takashi Tsukamoto will step down from his post on March 31 to take responsibility for failing to properly manage the bank.

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Source: Japan Economic Newswire

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