The Japanese parent of Union Bank in San Francisco announced Tuesday that the bank’s chief executive, Masashi Oka, has taken on the additional title of CEO for the Americas.

Oka replaces Masaki Tanaka – also a former CEO at Union Bank -- who has been promoted to a senior position at the holding company and will return to Tokyo. 

The leadership change comes less than a year after the parent company, The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, combined its $92.3 billion-asset Union Bank with its New York-based trust division in order to improve efficiency in the U.S. so that it can better take advantage of expansion opportunities.

Since then, the company has been making good on that promise to grow its U.S. operations. In March, Union’s holding company, UnionBanCal, announced it was buying Pacific Capital Bancorp (PCBC) in Santa Barbara, Calif., for $1.5 billion, and last week it struck a deal to buy an Atlanta firm that provides banking services to homeowners’ associations nationwide.

In a news release, Oka credited Tanaka with strengthening the governing structure of the U.S. operations and creating a more nimble company. "We are now better positioned to respond to a business landscape constantly reshaped by regulatory and competitive force,” Oka said. “I'm honored to assume the role during this time of change and opportunity.”

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