Top brass quit Nomura as its woes escalate

Tim Wallace
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NOMURA Securities boss Koji Nagai will replace Kenichi Watanabi as chief executive at the troubled bank, it was announced yesterday as seven top managers quit over the growing insider trading scandal.

Analysts said the mass resignations, which saw Watanabi’s close adviser and chief operating officer Takumi Shibata stand down, may put the brakes on the Japanese bank’s global expansion plans of recent years.

The pair were joined by five senior managing directors who also left the firm following the third insider trading scandal in the four years since Watanabi took the helm.

Nagai has worked at the group for more than 30 years and headed the securities unit since April of this year.

He said he will continue pushing for the group to become a global investment bank, but may tweak overseas structures: “We will make bold choices of what we will focus on. We will not simply stick to how we did things in the past,” he said.

But analysts said the change could mean an end to the bank’s global ambitions, a shift from Watanabi’s expansion which included the acquisition of Lehman Brothers’ Asian and European assets – a move that exposed the group to the Eurozone crisis and put pressure on profits.

Indeed, yesterday’s earnings data showed profits in the first quarter of just Y1.89bn (£15.4m), down 89 per cent on the year.

Stocks in the group rose 5.71 per cent on the day to close at Y259.