Partially behind the steady growth were the company’s aggressive acquisitions in the U.S. and Europe, most notably the purchase of John Frieda in 2002. Mr. Goto said competition slowed growth in China, but noted that China accounts for only 10% of Kao’s sales.
In April, Kao named Motoki Ozaki president. He formerly led the company’s core operations. At age 54, Mr. Ozaki is the youngest board member. He was selected by Mr. Goto, 63, to succeed him due to his high regard by seniors and subordinates, according to reports. Mr. Ozaki will focus on boosting international markets.