Some moves at the top for VIZ, as Ken Sasaki moves into the role of president and CEO as Hidemi Fukuhara moves up to the role of Vice Chairman for VIZ Media.
VIZ Media, the largest publisher, distributor and licensor of manga, graphic novels and anime in North America, announced today that Ken Sasaki will succeed Hidemi Fukuhara as President and CEO of the company as of April 1st, 2012.
Sasaki joined VIZ Media in February of 2008 and most recently served as Senior Vice President and General Manager for VIZ Media, where he led the company’s digital content distribution strategy for animation. Sasaki was a driving force behind developing relationships with industry leaders for the digital distribution of anime.
“We have spent the last few years preparing VIZ Media for its digital future,” said Ken Sasaki. “I look forward to expanding our digital distribution channels even further, making manga, graphic novels and anime even more accessible to fans across North America.”
Fukuhara is to be elevated to Vice Chairman for VIZ Media at the end of the month, leaving the day-to-day operations to his successor. He joined the company in March 2004 and began directing and overseeing all financial and operational concerns. Prior to this, Fukuhara spent 19 years at Merrill Lynch Japan Securities, moving quickly up the ranks to become its Deputy President and Managing Director.
“Ken Sasaki is a dynamic businessman and leader, and I am proud of the work we have done together over the past few years,” said Hidemi Fukuhara. “Ken will continue what we started, ensuring fans of manga and anime all across North America get the stories they love anytime in their preferred medium, whether it be physical media or digitally through the web or phone or tablet apps.”
In the coming months, alongside the vibrant publishing, licensing, home entertainment and broadcast entertainment businesses, Sasaki will continue to build the audience for its digital platforms, VIZ Anime and VIZ Manga, and to create innovative product offerings such as WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP ALPHA (the new digital manga anthology). Sasaki plans to unveil the next digital chapter for VIZ Media this summer.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.