【Corporate Announcement】LINE Announces CEO Transition

2014.12.22 Corporate Announcement

Tokyo, Japan – December 22, 2014 – LINE Corporation, owner and operator of the free call and messaging app LINE, today announced that its board of directors has provisionally appointed COO Takeshi Idezawa as the next CEO. Idezawa will succeed Akira Morikawa, whose term of office will expire in March 2015. The decision will be officially approved at the shareholders’ meeting and the board of directors’ meeting to be held in March 2015.

 

Akira Morikawa was appointed as the CEO of NHN Japan Corporation (“NHN Japan”) and Naver Japan Corporation (“Naver Japan”) in 2007. Since then, he has overseen a variety of services, including online games and the search engine business. At the end of 2010, he implemented a drastic strategic shift toward smartphones, ultimately resulting in the birth of LINE in June 2011. The company has since grown to become the operator of one of the biggest global messenger apps. Three group companies, namely NHN Japan, Naver Japan, and livedoor Co. Ltd. (“livedoor”), were integrated in January 2012 in order to centralize management. Due to the expansion of business, the game business division and web service division were spun off in April 2013 in order to further accelerate growth. The company was later renamed LINE Corporation, where Akira Morikawa dedicated himself to cultivating a creative environment for continuous innovation, as well as the acceleration of business expansion. 

 

In April 2014, a two representative directors system was introduced to handle management and operations separately and facilitate business expansion. As the CEO, Morikawa has been mainly responsible for management and external communications. Takeshi Idezawa, who was appointed the director and COO in January 2014, and subsequently the representative director and COO in April of the same year, has taken charge of overall operations including the LINE service. During the one year Idezawa served as COO, LINE has made a significant transformation from a Japanese service to a global service and from a messenger service to a “life platform.”

 

Morikawa has notified the company of his decision to leave the position as CEO upon the termination of his current contract, and as such, the company has decided to create a new managerial structure by appointing Idezawa as his successor in order to drive the next stage of global growth. 

 

The appointment of Idezawa as the new CEO is subject to the approval of the general shareholders’ meeting and the board of directors’ meeting to be held in late March 2015. Morikawa, the current CEO, will assist the new CEO as an advisor to the company.

 

1.Details of Change in Personnel

Name

New Position

Current Position

Akira Morikawa

 

 

Advisor 

(Informal decision)

 

Representative director and CEO

 

 

Takeshi Idezawa 

 

                   

Representative director and CEO   

(Informal decision)

 

Representative director and COO

 

 

 

2.Effective Date of Appointment

December 22, 2014 

 

Informal decisions at board meeting on the transition of CEO following termination of term and the appointment of new CEO.

 

Late March 2015

 

Official selection of new CEO to be made at the general shareholders’ meeting.

New management structure will be decided at the board of directors’ meeting to be held after shareholders’ meeting.

 

3.Biography of the New CEO

Name: Takeshi Idezawa

Date of Birth: 9 June 1973

1996

Graduated from Waseda University.Joined Asahi Mutual Life Insurance Company.

2001 Joined Livin' on the EDGE Co., Ltd.
2003 Appointed as senior executive vice president of Livin' on the EDGE Co., Ltd.
2007 April Appointed as CEO of livedoor, where he consolidated management.
2012 January  Became director of NHN Japan, a company formed by the merger of group companies livedoor, NHN Japan, and Naver Japan.
2013 April Became director of LINE, renamed from NHN Japan.
2014 January Appointed as director and COO of LINE.
2014 April Appointed as representative director and COO of LINE (current position).
2015 March To be officially appointed as CEO of LINE at the shareholders’ meeting.