Tadashi Yanai, Fast Retailing Co.'s 70-year-old billionaire founder, said he would prefer to besucceeded by a woman, which would be better for Asia's largest retailer.
"The job is more suitable for a woman," Yanai, the chief executive officer behind clothinggiant Uniqlo, said in an interview. "They are persevering, detailed oriented and have anaesthetic sense."
As Yanai gets older, he's been asked more frequently about succession at the company, whichhe built from his father's tailor shop into a global brand.
A possible candidate could be Maki Akaida, who was appointed this year to run Uniqlo's Japanoperations — the company's most profitable unit.
Yanai said he wants to increase the ratio of female senior executives to more than half thetotal.
Fast Retailing currently has six women in such roles, after hitting its goal last year of havingmore than 30% of women in management positions.
Fast Retailing shares climbed 0.9% in Tokyo trading on Wednesday.
Japan has faced scrutiny over its lack of gender diversity in top management roles; only4.1% of executive titles at publicly traded firms in the country are held by women. That palesin comparison with places such as the U.S., where women make up about a quarter ofexecutive ranks, according to multiple studies.
"It's a possibility," Yanai said when asked whether Akaida would be a potential successor. Akaida, 40, joined the company in 2001 and has managed Uniqlo stores in China and Japan, aswell as working in the sales and human resources divisions.