Kei Ishizaka, the chairman/CEO of Warner Music Japan, will step down from his post at the end of March to become honorary chairman. He’ll serve in that capacity until the end of October to ensure a smooth leadership transition. Ishizaka’s replacement has not yet been announced.
Ishizaka will retire after spending 46-year career in the music industry. Before joining WMG in 2011, he had been with PolyGram/Universal Music since 1994, joining as president and rising to chairman/CEO of Universal Music Japan in 2006. Before his tenure at Universal Music, Ishizaka was at Toshiba-EMI for 26 years, rising to executive Director in 1991.
In making the announcement, Warner Music Asia Pacific president Lachie Rutherford said in a statement: "Kei is one of the most accomplished and widely respected figures in the evolution of the modern music business in Japan, and his impressive contributions have played a pivotal role in shaping the country’s popular culture for more than four decades. Kei expertly led Warner Music Japan through a key transitional period in the company’s history, and he has set it on course for a bright and prosperous future."
Ishizaka has been a board member of the Recording Industry Association of Japan (RIAJ) since 1999, becoming chairman in 2007, and then holding the role of senior advisor. In 2009, the Emperor of Japan awarded him the Medal with Purple Ribbon in recognition of his contribution to the recording industry.
In a statement, Ishizaka said, Warner Music Japan "is a company with a rich history and a tireless devotion to serving its artists. I am proud of all we have accomplished in building Warner Music Japan’s reputation as a progressive home for outstanding artists, as well as laying the foundation for the company’s growth for many years to come."