He will join the company as non-executive chairman effective April 1 2014, and is expected to become executive chairman on September 1 2014.
Semaya is a well-known figure in the UK asset management industry, having previously acted as Barclays’ head of private banking and being a director of the UK Investment Management Association. He announced in September that he would be retiring from the bank after 10 years.
Changes to leadership of Nikko AM were sparked by the imminent departure of Charles Beazley, president and CEO, due to family reasons. He will return to the UK.
Beazley will be replaced by Takumi Shibata as of January 10. Shibata will also continue as executive chairman until Semaya joins the company in April.
Shibata said: “As a member of the new management team with David, I am excited to have the opportunity to take Nikko AM to new heights for our clients on a global basis. We will achieve this by reinforcing the investment culture, the quality of products and services and risk management, while increasing the focus of our employees and investing in the business.
"As a firm, we’re taking a proactive approach to harvesting opportunities globally, and will seek to grow by enhancing our product capabilities to meet our clients’ needs.”
During the latter part of his time at Barclays, Semaya was tasked with leading an initiative to set up a centre of excellence for asset management at the private bank. He is a trustee director for one of Europe's largest private pension funds. He previously lived in Japan for more than 15 years and is fluent in Japanese.
Beazley has worked for Nikko AM for seven years.
He said: “The decision to leave Nikko Asset Management was not an easy one for me, but I naturally chose to return to the U.K. in the face of family health issues that require my undivided attention,” Beazley said. “I am proud of the progress Nikko AM has made during my tenure as CEO, and have no doubt that the company will continue to prosper under the new management.”