Mizuho executives take pointless pay cuts

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(The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are their own.)

HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Japan’s third-largest financial institution by assets has been plagued by technology problems for a decade, but its chief executives are refusing to take responsibility. After a series of embarrassing incidents this year, including one which froze nearly all of its automated teller machines, the Nikkei business daily reported Mizuho Bank CEO Koji Fujiwara would go, while Tatsufumi Sakai, boss of parent Mizuho Financial Group, would take a pay reduction. A single departure wouldn’t resolve such a stubborn problem, but it would at least signal a start.

Now it appears Fujiwara will stay on and take a 50% pay cut for a paltry four months, while Sakai will be similarly docked for six. Three IT & Systems Group leaders have been reassigned – not fired.

An internal investigation blamed corporate culture for the flounders. That was precisely the financial watchdog’s conclusion 10 years ago. In theory, cultural problems mean everyone is responsible. In reality, nobody is. In Japan, investors rarely lose money betting against change. (By Pete Sweeney)

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(SIGN UP FOR BREAKINGVIEWS EMAIL ALERTS: | Editing by Antony Currie and Katrina Hamlin)

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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