UPDATE 1-Japan's Nomura picks Kentaro Okuda to succeed Nagai as CEO

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Dec 2 (Reuters) - Nomura named operating chief Kentaro Okuda as its new chief executive on Monday, replacing Koji Nagai who will become chairman of Japan's biggest brokerage and investment bank.

The reshuffle comes as Nomura posted its strongest quarterly profit in more than 17 years and pursues a cost-cutting campaign after its first annual loss in a decade last year.

Okuda, who joined Nomura in 1987 and became co-chief operating officer in April 2018, will become CEO on April 1, 2020.

Nomura's reputation took a hit in May when it was censured by regulators after it was found to have leaked information related to listing and delisting criteria to clients.

That led the government to omit it out as an underwriter in a Japan Post share sale and CEO Nagai taking a 30% pay cut for three months.

The improper handling incident came a month after Nomura reported its first annual loss in a decade and said it would not pay out bonuses to directors.

At a press conference on Monday, Nagai said there was no direct connection between the management change and information leakage scandal.

Nagai, a Nomura veteran, took the helm in 2012, after the previous CEO resigned over an insider trading scandal. (Reporting by Tokyo bureau; Editing by Edmund Blair and Alexander Smith)