Current CEO to continue to seek integration with Showa Shell; Idemitsu, Showa Shell to send execs to each other.
TOKYO, Feb 14 (Reuters) - Japanese oil refiner Idemitsu
Kosan Co says it has named Executive Vice President Shunichi Kito, 61, as its next president and CEO, effective as of April 1.
Idemitsu President and CEO Takashi Tsukioka is to become chairman as of the same date.
Tsukioka said the changes are to accelerate business collaboration with Showa Shell Sekiyu.
Tsukioka said he would continue to lead efforts to gain support from Idemitsu's stakeholders for its goals of integrating with its smaller rival.
Integration of the two companies has been meeting stiff opposition from Idemitsu's founding family, who claim to have a 28.5 percent stake in Idemitsu.
Short of a formal integration, Idemitsu and Showa Shell started a business alliance last year trying to cut costs by 30 billion yen ($279 million) over three years.
The two firms also on Wednesday decided to welcome each other's executives as high-ranking officers to strengthen their alliance.
"I think we are nearing a stage for integration," Tsukioka told reporters.
Idemitsu Kosan on Wednesday reported more than doubling net profit in the nine months ended Dec. 31, due to an improvement in oil product margins and energy price recovery.
Showa Shell on Wednesday also reported a rise in 2017 earnings.
Reporting by Osamu Tsukimori