KKR appoints co-CEO for Japan operations

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts is looking to the experience of Shusaku Minoda, a retired Japanese banker, to lead its efforts in a market most international buyout groups have had a tough time cracking.

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co has appointed Shusaku Minoda as a managing director and co-chief executive officer for the buyout firm’s Japan operations. The appointment of a co-CEO is expected to complement the operational background of Taketo Yamakawa, chief executive officer of KKR Japan.

Minoda, who will join KKR from 1 July, was managing executive officer in charge of the global investment banking group at Mizuho Corporate Bank.

Minoda’s appointment comes in the wake of KKR advancing toward the close of a first Asia-dedicated fund, a $4 billion investment vehicle, and follows that of Naohiko Kitsuta, previously a partner at MKS Partners, one of the three most prominent local private equity firms.  Japan has proven to be a challenging environment for international groups to access deals outside of auctions.

Henry Kravis, founding partner of KKR said Minoda is “widely recongised as an influential and pioneering figure within the Japanese investment banking community and will add significant experience and expertise to our existing team in Japan.”

Kravis and his partner George Roberts made a rare appearance at a press conference in Tokyo last month during when they referred to Japan as “fertile territory” for private equity.

Minoda had been a member of Mizuho’s management committee since 2004. His career started with Industrial Bank of Japan – combined with two other banks to form Mizuho in 2002 – which took him to New York and London before he was appointed general manager of the bank’s syndicated finance department in 1998.