MANILA – The Asian Development Bank’s new president, Masatsugu Asakawa of Japan, assumed office on Friday, the Manila-based financial institution said.
Asakawa, who served as Special Adviser to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the country’s finance minister prior to his election in December by the ADB Board of Governors, succeeds Takehiko Nakao.
Nakao was ADB President from April 2013 until Jan. 16, 2020.
“I am honored to assume the role of ADB President and to begin working in close cooperation with our 68 member countries. ADB has been a trusted partner of the region for more than half a century, supporting strong growth that has improved the lives of people across Asia and the Pacific,” Asakawa said in a statement.
“I will strive to ensure ADB remains the preferred choice of its clients and partners,” he added.
The Princeton-educated financial diplomat will finish the unexpired term of Nakao through Nov. 23, 2021, and sits as its 10th president, the ADB said.
The ADB said Asakawa’s professional career spans nearly four decades, including holding senior positions at Japan’s Ministry of Finance, as well as participation in such international events as the 2019 G20 Osaka Summit, the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting, and the first G20 Leaders’ Summit Meeting.
He also had engagements with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
As Chief Adviser to ADB President Kimimasa Tarumizu between 1989 and 1992, Asawaka spearheaded the creation of a new office in the bank focusing on strategic planning.
The ADB, which is owned by 68 economies, of which 49 are from Asia and the Pacific, extended $22 billion in loans and grants in 2019.
Its operations have expanded to include more advanced technologies in its projects, strengthen the health and education sectors, and boost climate financing.