Advisors

Management Counsel

Eiichi Seki

Special Advisor

Mr. Seki joined Polaris as Special Advisor in May 2011. Since then, he served as Chairman of Kanto Unyu , Clean Surface Technology and Yodogawa Transformer, all invested and exited by Polaris with success. Concurrently, he is Director of Sogo Medical and Statutory Auditor of Innova. Mr. Seki started his business career at The Industrial Bank of Japan in 1971 and, after various assignments in and outside of Japan, became Managing Executive Officer of Mizuho Bank in 2002. Then he moved to Kokunai Shinpan (renamed as Rakuten KC in October 2005) in 2003 to turn it around and became CEO in June 2005 and Chairman in June 2008. He was also Statutory Auditor of Rakuten Bank since June 2009 and Executive Officer of Rakuten, Inc. Mr. Seki received a BA in Commerce from Hitotsubashi University.

Part Time Advisors

Shuichi Takahashi

Honorary Advisor

Mr. Takahashi joined Polaris as president in September 2004 upon founding the company , was appointed chairman in June 2006, and counselor and member of the board in July 2007, director in June 2015, and honorary advisor in July 2017. Prior to Polaris, he was president & CEO of Kansai Urban Bank, a regional bank in Japan, which he successfully turned around. Before that, he was managing director of NIDEC Corp. where he managed a number of M&A transactions as well as post-merger integrations. Prior to NIDEC, he was director of the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi. Mr. Takahashi holds a BA in Law from Kyoto University and an M. Phil from University of Edinburgh.

Kaori Yagi

Advisor (part time)

Ms. Yagi joined Polaris as Managing Director in March 2005, and became Advisor in April 2009. Prior to Polaris, she was General Manager of Global Alliances Office of Sony Corporation, mainly responsible for the alliance strategy with overseas IT and Media companies as well as the new business development. Prior to that, she was engaged in the International Marketing of the professional products, including three-year experience in Sony of Canada Ltd. as Operations Manager. Ms. Yagi received a BA in International Relations from The University of Tokyo.

Yasuo Kitamura

Legal Advisor (part-time)

Mr. Kitamura joined Polaris as legal advisor in March 2005. He is a partner of Kitamura & Hiraga, which was established in October 2007. Prior to that, he practiced at Ozawa & Akiyama from 1996 and became partner in 2002. During this period, he practiced at Shearman & Sterling in New York from 2000 to 2001. Prior to that, he worked for The Industrial Bank of Japan, Ltd. (IBJ). He was admitted to the bar of Japan in 1996, and to the bar of New York State in 2001. He received an LL.B. from Kyoto University and LL.M. at Duke University School of Law.

Senior Advisors

Kiyohiro Sugashita

Director and CEO,
Sugashita Partners, Ltd.

Mr. Sugashita joined Polaris as Advisor in May 2011. He is Director and CEO of Sugashita Partners, Ltd since 1998 and provides consulting services to financial institutions and ventures in and outside of Japan. Prior to that position, he was CEO of Lazard Japan Asset Management from 1991 to 1998. His business career also includes positions at Daiwa Securities and Merrill Lynch Securities, Tokyo Branch. On the academic front, Mr. Sugashita received a BA in Economics from Ritsumeikan University and since 2009 is Special Advisor for the Dean of Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University.

Matsuo Iwata

Former CEO, Starbucks Coffee Japan Co., Ltd.

Mr. Iwata started his career at Nissan Motor in 1982 and experienced various positions including production management, engineering, procurement and finance. In January 1995 he joined Gemini Consulting as Senior Consultant and moved to Coca-Cola Japan as Procurement Manager in October 1996 with a further promotion to Senior Executive Officer of Coca Cola Beverage Services in July 1999. Then in April 2001, he became CEO of Atlus which was turned around under his leadership and later acquired by Takara in 2003. After 2 years at Takara as Director, Mr. Iwata was chosen as CEO of Aeon Forest (the master franchisee of The Body Shop) in 2005 and doubled the sales. From June 2009 to March 2011, he led Starbucks Coffee Japan as CEO. Starbucks Coffee Japan achieved its record profit in 2010. In 2012, he joined Innovation Network Corporation of Japan as Managing Director in charge of post-investment management support of portfolio companies. Currently Mr. Iwata is CEO of Leadership Consulting. Mr. Iwata received a BA in Economics from Osaka University and an MBA from UCLA Anderson School of Management, where he was chosen as Alumni 100 Points of Impact.

Yoshimitsu Onji

CEO, OZ Corporation

Mr. Onji started his business career at Daiei in 1977, and after various assignments, was promoted the head of Planning Department, then joined RECOF Group in 1998. At RECOF, he was appointed as Managing Executive Officer in 2002, Director and Chief Executive Officer in 2007, Representative Director and President and CEO in 2010, and Chairman and Representative Director in October 2016. Concurrently he was appointed as Director of M&A Capital Partners in December 2016. He resigned from both positions in September 2017. He received an LL.B. from Doshisha University.

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