Masato Matsuura was named president of Avex, Japan's biggest independent record company, at an emergency shareholders' meeting today (Sept. 28) in Tokyo. He replaces Toshio Kobayashi, who becomes the

Masato Matsuura was named president of Avex, Japan's biggest independent record company, at an emergency shareholders' meeting today (Sept. 28) in Tokyo. He replaces Toshio Kobayashi, who becomes the company's managing director.

Ryuhei Chiba, previously president of Avex's talent agency Axev, was named VP of Avex Group.

The appointments follow a series of boardroom maneuvers in early August which saw Matsuura, the company's co-founder and senior MD, and Chiba quit the company. In addition, Avex's previous chairman/CEO, Tom Yoda, was ousted from power and relegated to the position of honorary chairman. Yoda also exited as chairman/CEO of labels body Recording Industry Assn. of Japan (RIAJ), a post he had held since March 2003.

"The whole thing was just a power game between Matsuura and Yoda," says an industry source. "Matsuura didn't want to work with Yoda anymore, because Yoda wanted to expand Avex's business into various fields, such as the movie business, while Matsuura wanted to concentrate on music."

Matsuura and Yoda -- the respective creative and business brains behind Avex -- built up Avex from a small import-specialist company in the late 1980s to one of Japan's biggest record labels.

As part of the changes at Avex, cable-radio operator Usen has bought shares from Yoda, Matsuura and Kobayashi to become the label's biggest single shareholder, with a 22.38% stake in the company. Details of that transaction were not available at press time.

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