* Chairman Maeda to replace President Suekawa
* Shiseido shares surge 7.3 pct to 10-mth high
TOKYO, March 11 The president of Shiseido Co Ltd
will resign and be replaced by the company's chairman
after a two-year stint that saw profits suffer, the Japanese
cosmetics maker said on Monday.
The personnel change sent shares in the make-up giant
surging to a 10-month high, as the reinstatement of the
executive who helped Shiseido rapidly boost sales in the last
decade lifted expectations.
The firm, which competes with France's L'Oreal and
Estee Lauder in sales of high-end cosmetics, saw its
market share decline in Asian markets in recent years as
competition from lower-priced rivals grew.
"The current management has been very slow in changing their
policy. It's been in structural decline for the last three
years, so the fact the guy is quitting on his own is good," a
director at a foreign hedge fund said.
President Hisayuki Suekawa will step down on March 31 due to
health reasons and be succeeded by Chairman Shinzo Maeda, the
man he replaced when be became president in 2011. Suekawa will
stay on at the firm as a senior advisor, Shiseido said in a
Shiseido shares climbed 7.3 percent to 1,371 yen and at one
point traded as high as 1,372 yen on Monday. The benchmark
Nikkei advanced 0.4 percent.
In January, the maker of Maquillage and Cle de Peau Beaute
prestige products, as well as its namesake cosmetics line,
slashed its operating profit forecast for the year ending March
31 by almost 40 percent to 24.5 billion yen ($255 million)
because of sales falls at home and in China, from the fallout of
bilateral territorial dispute.
That would mark a 37 percent decrease on the year, compared
to a 18.7 percent year-on-year fall in the previous year.
Shiseido, which competes with Fancil Corp and Kao
Corp in the domestic market, maintained its annual
dividend at 50 yen, however.
"The issue is now whether the new president will see reality
and the dividend gets cut," a senior trader at a foreign bank
Shares in Shiseido, which has a market capitalisation over
$5 billion, are up 12.7 percent so far this year after
suffering five consecutive years of losses.