Masatsugu Asakawa is new ADB head

Masatsugu Asakawa

Masatsugu Asakawa is the new president of the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

Asakawa, who is currently serving as a special advisor to Japan’s prime minister and finance minister, was elected by the bank’s board of governors via unanimous decision on Monday. He will assume office on January 17, 2020.

Asakawa is set to replace Takehiko Nakao who will step down from his post on January 16 after serving ADB for more than six years.

Prior to ADB, Asakawa held various senior positions at Japan’s finance ministry, one of which was being a vice minister for international affairs. During his stint at the finance ministry, he gained experience in developing national policies, overseeing foreign exchange markets, and managing international tax policies.

Likewise, Asakawa served as the finance deputy at the G20 Osaka Summit and the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting held in Fukuoka, Japan this year.

In 2008, he served as the executive assistant to former prime minister Taro Aso.

Asakawa was also chairman of the Organization for Economic, Cooperation, and Development’s (OECD) Fiscal Affairs Committee from 2011 to 2016.

Finance-aside, Asakawa was a visiting professor at the University of Tokyo for three years, from 2012 to 2015, as well as at the Saitama University from 2006 to 2009.

Asakawa obtained his bachelor’s degree from the University of Tokyo in 1981 and a master’s degree in public administration from Princeton University in 1985.

“Masatsugu’s extensive and diverse experience in international finance and development will serve ADB well in pursuing its vision of a prosperous, inclusive, resilient and sustainable Asia and Pacific,” said Hong Nam Ki, Korea’s deputy prime minister and economy and finance ministry, and who also serves as the chairman of ADB’s board of governors.

“The ADB board of governors looks forward to working with Mr. Masatsugu,” he added.

ADB was established in 196 and is currently owned by 68 members, 49 of which are based in Asia.

During Nakao’s stint, the ADB has increased its new lending and grant from $14 billion in 2013 to $22 billion in 2018.

Nakao also spearheaded the merger of ordinary capital resources and concessional lending operations of the Asian Development Fund which enabled the expansion of operations, the launch of the Strategy 2030, and improving the financial sustainability of the staff pension system by introducing defined contribution plan for new hires, among others.