Japan's biggest banks are breaking tradition by promoting foreigners to top management roles to retain and lure overseas talent as growth abroad buoys profit. Among recent appointments, Debra Hazelton became the first foreign general manager at Mizuho Financial Group's Tokyo headquarters in July. The so-called mega banks are giving foreign staff more responsibility as they expand overseas to spur earnings that are hampered by low interest rates and tepid loan demand at home. "Japanese mega banks will only get more dependent on overseas businesses," said Yoshinobu Yamada, an analyst at Deutsche Bank. John Mullally, an associate director at recruiter Robert Walters in Hong Kong, said the top banks "are putting more non-Japanese staff in leadership positions" to attract foreign talent. Hazelton joined Mizuho's banking unit in Sydney in 2007 to become the lender's first non-Japanese country head, following 20 years at Commonwealth Bank of Australia. Her move to Tokyo as the only foreigner among 30 general managers at the head office represented a reversal of a practice of dispatching Japanese nationals to manage operations abroad, she said. "My specific appointment was kind of a symbol that we're really looking at input from staff that have been hired outside Japan," Hazelton said. Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, under Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, named Randall Chafetz last year as its first foreign executive officer, putting him on the highest executive rung. At Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp, under Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, Rajeev Kannan has been working as general manager of project and export finance at its Tokyo headquarters for more than two years.