On June 7, Aruze announced that longtime CEO Takahiro Usui would be stepping down after 14 years in his position. He will be replaced by Chief Financial Officer Yugo Kinoshita in a shakeup at the top that also included Hiromi Okada joining the board of directors.
Takahiro Usui is stepping down at the end of this month for what has been described as “personal reasons.” He helped to turn Aruze into a worldwide leader in the gaming industry. “The Aruze Board of Directors collectively would like to thank Takahiro for his incredible efforts and accomplishments while at Aruze and we wish him well in all his future endeavors,” explained Vice-Chairman of the Board Rich Pennington.
Under the leadership of Usui, Azure has become one of the most influential companies in the gambling industry. Not only have they added to their portfolio by inking deals with companies such as Walker Digital Table Systems, but have expanded operations into the Mediterranean. This included gaining gaming licenses for both Greece and Cyprus last year.
In his place steps Yugo Kinoshita, who has been serving as both the CFO and the Chief Strategy Officer. While remaining on the board of directors, he will step in as the CEO. He has been with the company since 2012.
Kinoshita is excited about the new opportunity he has been given. “It is with great honor that I accept the role of Aruze’s new Chief Executive Officer. I am excited for the future of the company and look forward to continuing the momentum of success that the organization is currently experiencing.”
The addition of Hiromi Okada is an interesting one. She is the daughter of Aruze founder Kazuo Okada and has been added to the board in what is being described as a move to add a “fresh perspective” to the company. What exactly that “perspective” is has not been provided.
Also, Masumi Fujisawa, who has served as the Vice-President of Product Development, will move into a new role as well. He will become the Chairman of the Board and the Chief Technology Officer.
The naming of Kinoshita as the CEO, who will take the positon at the end of June, means that Azure must be satisfied with the direction that Aruze was heading under Usui. Hiring from within like this is usually a sign that the board of directors is satisfied with the direction of the company and is looking for a new face that will follow with a similar plan.