(Bloomberg) -- Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s Japan president is stepping down after 38 years at the US investment bank, a person with knowledge of the matter said. 

Masanori Mochida, 68, is leaving his role, the person said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. 

The Financial Times reported Mochida’s departure earlier Friday. He was due to retire next year but the process was expedited in recent days due to a need for fresh leadership amid competition for deals, the FT reported, citing unidentified people. 

Hiroko Matsumoto, a Tokyo-based spokeswoman for Goldman, declined to comment. 

Mochida, who became president in 2001, helped to build Goldman’s Japan business during the country’s lost years following the collapse of an asset and real estate price bubble. Under his leadership, the firm became a major player in an industry that had previously been dominated by domestic banks.

His departure comes amid renewed interest in investing in Japanese companies following a rebound in the stock market that has been partially attributed to corporate governance reforms and a greater acceptance of shareholder activism. 

One of Goldman’s most high-profile moves in the post-bubble era was to buy struggling golf courses. In recent years, the US firm advised on deals including Toshiba Corp.’s sale of its memory chip business. 

It’s not clear what Mochida will do in retirement. An avowed rugby fan, he co-wrote a book with former Japan national team coach Eddie Jones in 2017. In the book, he wrote that he would like to run a professional team with Jones, who has also coached England and Australia. 

--With assistance from Joyce Koh.

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