The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images
The 70-year-old’s Tokyo-listed retail clothing empire Fast Retailing is parent of the Uniqlo chain. Tadashi Yanai and his family own a 44% stake, putting their estimated net worth at over $29 billion.
On September 3, Fast Retailing announced that same-store sales at its Uniqlo clothing outlets in Japan rose 9.9% in August from a year earlier. And although sales in Asia remain strong, U.S. expansion is on hold after Yanai shelved a 2012 goal to open 1,000 Uniqlo stores in the U.S.—it currently has 50.
As talk of Uniqlo’s next CEO intensifies, Japan’s prime minister Shinzo Abe has spoken about the need to address the country’s shrinking workforce, and part of that concerns a better quality of work and more senior positions for women.
Maki Akaida, head of Uniqlo’s Japan operations, reportedly leads the company’s most profitable unit and is seen as the most likely successor. When asked by Bloomberg Japan, Yanai cited her elevation as “a possibility.”