The company said on Friday that Shintaro Tsuji will retire as CEO of Sanrio on July 1. Tomokuni Tsuji, 31, added that he would take on the task of “ensuring effective decision making”. Shintaro will remain as president.
Shintaro founded Sanrio as a gift shop in Yamanashi Silk Center in 1960 and changed its name to Sanrio in 1973. Sanrio was one of the first Japanese companies to see potential in the character licensing business, and Hello Kitty is by far the most popular and profitable creation.
Meanwhile, Sanrio has become a retail and entertainment giant with its amusement parks and restaurants in Japan, the United States and the United Kingdom.
By the way, Tomokuni Tsuji already has a special connection with Hello Kitty: They share the same birthday, November 1. Tomokuni is 14 years old.
Sanrio fans are already comparing the new CEO with the Sanrio character Pompompurin, a beret-covered golden hunting dog.
Someone tweeted Tomokuni “is the perfect image for Sanrio”.
Despite Hello Kitty’s persistent popularity, gains in Sanrio have been under pressure for years. For the year ended in March, net profits fell by 95% from the previous year to 191 million yen ($ 1.8 million), largely due to the decline in sales of goods and the closure of theme parks. Sales fell 6.5% and the Sanrio Puroland theme park, also known as the Hello Kitty Land in Tokyo, remained closed after being closed in February due to a coronavirus pandemic. The park is planned to be reopened on July 20.
Family-run businesses in Japan often pass reins to their eldest son. According to the company, Kunihiko, the founder’s son, died in 2013 of heart failure.