Columbia Music Entertainment Inc. (hereinafter CME; Head Office: Minato-ku, Tokyo; Representative Executive Officer & Chairman: Strauss Zelnick, Representative Executive Officer, President & Chief Executive Officer (CEO): Sadahiko Hirose) has decided to appoint Executive Officer Yasuharu Hara (aged 49) as its new Representative Executive Officer President & Chief Operating Officer (COO) with effect from May 15, 2009.
Yasuharu Hara will become the first CME President who has been with the Company for the entire period since CME accepted capital participation from Ripplewood Holdings (presently RHJ International). In line with this appointment, the Company has also decided to make several other changes to its executive lineup and to implement additional structural reform measures.
Retiring President & CEO Sadahiko Hirose has undertaken strenuous measures to restructurethe Company since taking office in January 2002. By promoting a growth strategy and exercising extraordinary leadership, he was able to end the Company’s previous 14-year run of continuous losses. In addition, he has actively promoted the shift to digital sound source utilization including developing the Company’s own online site Mobile Columbia,the industry’s first downloading site available via all three Japanese mobile phone carriers, and making CME one of the first companies to offer PC- and mobile phone-use video distribution. This has led to the launch of several new services including Customize CD and On-demand CD.
Furthermore, he has worked to create a firm foundation for strengthening and expanding the entertainment business though the acquisition of Creative Core Ltd. In the previous fiscal year , he conducted a review of non-profitable departments and pursued personnel optimization.
By taking the opportunity provided by the completion of these diverse measures aimed at returning the Company to profitability in the March 2010 fiscal year, and in the interest of rejuvenating CME’s senior management team, he has decided that now is the time to make way for a younger executive. Although he will be retiring as President & CEO, he will continue to help supervise the Company’s conduct of its affairs as a Board Director.
Incoming President & COO Yasuharu Hara joined Nippon Columbia in April 1982. During a period when the music industry was booming, he worked for many years in the Company’s Sales Department. Beginning in 2003 he spent time as Manager of the Advertisement Planning Department No. 3 and as the Manager of the Promotion Budget Control Group, and from 2004 he has been the President of the Columbia House Division, which is engaged in the Animation, Video, Education and Hogaku (Japanese traditional music) fields. He was appointed to his present post of Executive Officer in June 2005.
Strauss Zelnick will continue to steer the Company towards growth and profitability together with President Hara in the capacity of Representative Executive Officer, Chairman & CEO.
"Columbia Music Entertainment has made enormous progress in recent years, completing a major restructuring, diversifying into a broad-based entertainment company, and transforming into a leader in digital music, games, video and education," said Chairman and CEO Strauss Zelnick.
"We are proud of Sadahiko's accomplishments throughout his leadership of the Company, and we look forward to benefiting from his wisdom and continuing involvement as a Board Director. We congratulate Yasuharu on his new role and look forward to working closely together in the years ahead."
Under its new management structure, Columbia Music Entertainment will continue to work hard to achieve maximum sustained growth and efficiency as a total entertainment company — in music, video, education, and games.
*Please refer to attached regarding the new president’s business career. Moreover if there are any photographic or data requests please contact the company’s PR group.
■ Columbia Music Entertainment Inc.
Company Name: Columbia Music Entertainment Inc.
Address: Roppongi 21 Mori Bldg., 1-4-33 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Representative: Representative Director and CEO Sadahiko Hirose