Toshiba-EMI chairman Masaaki Saito will retire from the company on April 27, the Tokyo-based label said today (April 3). Saito was named president of Toshiba-EMI in 1997 -- the first time an executive

Toshiba-EMI chairman Masaaki Saito will retire from the company on April 27, the Tokyo-based label said today (April 3).

Saito joined Toshiba-EMI in 1970, and after training with various EMI subsidiaries in Europe, joined the Japanese company’s planning department in 1977. In 1980 he joined TOEMI Music Office, the label's artist-management affiliate, and became its president in 1982.

In 1986, Saito was appointed manager of Toshiba-EMI's international marketing division, becoming its director soon after. Saito was named president of Toshiba-EMI in 1997 -- the first time an executive who had started his career at the company became its president. In January 2005, Saito was named Toshiba-EMI's chairman when Shoji Doyama replaced him as president.

"Saito-san has made a great contribution to EMI and our artists over many years, helping to break and develop some of Japan's most important musicians and to launch many international artists in Japan," commented EMI Music Asia chairman/CEO Norman Cheng in a statement.

A Toshiba-EMI spokesperson says Saito will not be replaced as chairman.