Japan’s Mixi to appoint new CEO, co-founder Kenji Kasahara to step down


mixi_logoJapanese social network giant Mixi (TYO:2121) announced today that its co-founder Kenji Kasahara would step down from the CEO position. Yusuke Asakura will take over in his place effective June 25th when the company’s next shareholder meeting is scheduled.

From the left: the current CEO Kenji Kasahara and upcoming CEO Yusuke Asakura
Current CEO Kenji Kasahara (left) and incoming CEO Yusuke Asakura (right)

Asakura started his career at McKinsey & Co, founding his startup Naked Technology in August of 2010 [1]. That company was subsequently acquired by Mixi. In the announcement, Mr. Kasahara expressed some parting thoughts:

Mr. Asakura has two different backgrounds — working at a big consulting firm and running his own startup, and that experience will help guide him to make good decisions in a logical manner, with passion. He is still just 30 years old but has the great entrepreneurial drive needed to lead our business.

16 years has been passed since the launch of Find Job (a talent/job matching site by Mixi), and nine years has been passed since the launch of the Mixi social network platform. I’ll be stepping down as chairman, but our new CEO will evolve the entire company to bring more new services to the community.

Last August Mixi set up an internal ‘innovation team’ to intensify service development efforts. So far their products include app testing service DeployGate and photo printing app Nohana. These are not derivatives from the social network, and they represent entirely new revenue streams for the company.

Mixi has also been aggressively acquiring high-profile startups and entrepreneurs, and this is a trend that can be seen across the entire Japanese tech scene, with Yahoo Japan being especially active.

Press briefing at Mixi Headquarters (May 15th, Tokyo)
Press briefing at Mixi Headquarters (May 15th, Tokyo)

  1. We’ve recently written about another Naked Technology alum Miku Hirano, who is trying to conquer the Southeast Asia region with a unique photo sharing app.  ↩