(Bloomberg) -- Aflac Inc., the supplemental health insurer that generates most of its profits in Japan, is switching its leadership in the country as the company works to reverse a sales slump.
Hiroshi Yamauchi, currently executive vice president of Aflac Japan, will become president and chief operating officer on Jan. 1, the Columbus, Georgia-based insurer said yesterday in a statement. Tohru Tonoike, now president, will retire from that role and become vice chairman.
Aflac, led by Chief Executive Officer Dan Amos, has struck partnerships with Japan Post Holdings Co. and Daido Life Insurance Co. to add customers. New annualized premium sales have slipped in Japan for five straight quarters, according to a document on Aflac’s website.
“Tohru has contributed greatly to our company in so many ways, including his leadership and dedication to enhancing our distribution infrastructure,” Amos said in the statement. “We will appreciate his support of Aflac Japan from a broader perspective.”
Tonoike, 64, became deputy president of Aflac Japan in 2007 and was promoted to president the same year.
Tonoike is approaching age 65, “which is traditionally a time when people in Japan tend to retire,” Jon Sullivan, an Aflac spokesman, said in an e-mail. His new role as vice chairman “is largely honorary and in line with the Japanese tradition of providing a respectful period of transition into retirement after a very successful career.”
Yamauchi joined Aflac in 1976 in the actuarial department, and became a vice president in 1999. In 2002, he was named first senior vice president, and in 2005 he added the role of chief administrative officer, Aflac said. He was promoted to executive vice president in 2012.
“Hiroshi will continue to do an exceptional job in his new role,” Amos said. Yamauchi has “enhanced vital aspects of our company with his results-oriented approach.”
A decline in the yen relative to the dollar has also weighed on profits at Aflac, which converts results from the Japanese currency for reporting purposes. The stock has declined 12 percent this year, compared with the 6.3 percent advance of the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.
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