By The North American Post Staff
After leading the Uwajimaya Board for nearly 50 years, Tomio Moriguchi announced his retirement from the board effective Dec. 31, 2016. Moriguchi, who led the company with his mother and siblings after the death of his father and company founder, Fujimatsu Moriguchi, from 1964 through 2008, will continue to work on the development of the company’s real estate holdings but is removing himself from the company’s management and operations.
Board Member, James (Jim) Warjone, will step in as Lead Chair. Warjone, who had served in the role of Chairman and CEO of Port Blakely Companies, is the first non-family board chair for Uwajimaya, Inc.
“Tomio has provided strategic leadership and vision for the company from day one making Uwajimaya what it is today,” said Warjone. “I want to publicly thank Tomio for his service and dedication to the company, the employees, his family and the community.”
Most recently, Moriguchi helped lead the Uwajimaya Board through the company’s CEO Succession Process-identifying the next leader to replace Moriguchi’s youngest sister and current CEO, Tomoko Moriguchi-Matsuno. Tomoko took over for Tomio as CEO in 2008 and will retire this February. The Board worked with outside consultants to vet several third generation family members through an objective process and ultimately selected Denise Moriguchi, Tomio’s daughter.
Uwajimaya is a family-owned and operated Asian grocery store, food wholesaler and development company located in the Pacific Northwest. The business began in 1928 and has grown to four retail locations (Seattle, Bellevue, and Renton, Wash. and Beaverton, Ore.) and a wholesale division (Food Service International). The company also recently completed the re-developed of the historic Publix Hotel along with a new six-story tower, creating 125 new apartments and retail space in Seattle’s Chinatown International District.
“Now that we have worked through the challenge of identifying the next generation of leadership, my work on the board is done and I am stepping aside to make room for them,” Moriguchi said.
In addition to his service at Uwajimaya, Moriguchi has been an active community member and has served on a multitude of civic and community boards including: Keiro Northwest, Puget Sound Energy, The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, KCTS, University of Washington, Seattle Colleges, The Pacific Science Center and many organizations serving Seattle’s Chinatown-International District. He is also currently the Chairman and Publisher for the North American Post, the Northwest’s largest and oldest Japanese community newspaper.