Hello Kitty founder Shintaro Tsuji steps down as CEO aged 92 – BBC News

Image shows Shintaro Tsuji

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Shintaro Tsuji has been on the helm of Sanrio for greater than six many years

The founding father of the Japanese firm that created Good day Kitty has introduced he’s stepping down as CEO aged 92.

Shintaro Tsuji mentioned he would hand over management of Sanrio to his 31-year-old grandson, Tomokuni Tsuji.

It marks the primary change in management within the firm’s six-decade historical past.

Good day Kitty, a mouthless cartoon adorned with a trademark hair bow, has generated billions of {dollars} since its inception virtually 50 years in the past.

The easy line-drawn picture has appeared on merchandise together with clothes, toys and stationery. It’s focused principally at younger youngsters, however lately it has additionally proved common with adults.

Mr Tsuji will formally depart his position on 1 July.

An organization at a turning level

Evaluation by Celia Hatton, Asia Pacific Editor

Shintaro Tsuji began a present firm within the 1960s and shortly realised that the merchandise that includes “cute” designs had been his bestsellers.

That led to the creation of Good day Kitty, who has since turn into an iconic Japanese character.

However Kitty has competitors: gross sales have been dropping inside Japan for years and Sanrio now will depend on its more and more fragile international enterprise.

So, Mr Tsuji’s resolution to step apart comes at a turning level for the corporate.

In Japanese custom, CEO founders try to go on their positions to relations. Mr Tsuji’s son died of a coronary heart assault in 2013, and so for this reason his grandson is taking up.

Tomokuni Tsuji has already pledged to remodel the corporate and to drop outdated concepts. Let’s hope he isn’t referring to Good day Kitty, who’s older than the corporate’s new chief.

Tomokuni Tsuji, who’s presently a senior managing director at Sanrio, will turn into the youngest CEO of an organization listed on the Topix share index.

He coincidentally shares a birthday with Good day Kitty on 1 November, based on the AFP information company. However he’s 14 years youthful than the character itself.

“I need to remodel the corporate to raised reply to at the moment’s quickly altering enterprise setting,” he informed a press convention on Friday.

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Good day Kitty-branded merchandise are offered around the globe and its picture has even featured on a bullet practice

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There may be even a Good day Kitty theme park in China

Sanrio, whose enterprise has been declining for a number of years, has been badly affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Annual web earnings fell by 95% within the 2019/2020 fiscal yr, based on figures printed on Friday. Gross sales had been additionally down 6.5 % on the earlier yr.

Good day Kitty-branded merchandise are offered in 130 international locations worldwide, with the vary extending from prosecco to plimsolls.

Additionally it is licensed for amusement parks and cafés, whereas final yr a Japanese railway agency splashed the picture on its bullet practice, painted in pink and white.

Though the model typifies the Japanese development for “kawaii” or cuteness, the character itself is recognized as British as a result of when she was created within the 1970s British tradition was modern in Japan.

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