Former Shimano chairman passes away

Shimano’s chairman emeritus, Mr Yoshizo Shimano – who led the company as president and then chairman from 1995 until 2012 – has passed away from chronic heart failure at the age of 85.

The company has released few details other than to say that funeral services were held privately by his family and close friends but he was widely credited with establishing Shimano as a global brand, heading up its first overseas operation and encouraging English as its main language.

An official statement from Shimano said: “The contributions he made to Shimano's business cannot be measured and his impact will be felt forever. On behalf of our management team and employees, we extend our deepest condolences to his family.”

Yoshizo Shimano was born on November 27th, 1934 and was the third son of founder Shozaburo Shimano. He joined the company in 1958 and, seven years later became president of its US sales division – the manufacturing firm’s first overseas base, then headed up European sales from 1972.

Combining manufacturing techniques learned from his father and older brothers with his own cutting-edge ideas, he helped the company expand, most notably in the US mountain bike market boom in the 1980s.

His emphasis on globalisation not only meant him making English as Shimano’s official language – and teaching employees – but he also shared a vision to create a true Team Shimano around the world.

He was appointed as the firm’s fourth president in 1995, following his two older brothers, Shozo and Keizo.

Next March sees Shimano’s centenary of its foundation as a metalworking company in the Japanese city of Sakai before it went on to become a global leader in bicycles, fishing tackle and other outdoor product ranges.