Warner Music Group (WMG) announced the retirement of Kei Ishizaka from his post as Chairman & CEO, Warner Music Japan. A 46-year veteran of the Japanese music industry, Ishizaka joined Warner Music in 2011, having previously served in senior executive positions at Universal Music and Toshiba-EMI.
While at Warner Music Japan, Ishizaka spearheaded the success of new artists such as Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, one of the most popular acts in Japan today. At the same time, he has helped continue to build the careers of established superstars such as Superfly, Kyosuke Himuro, Tatsuro Yamashita and Kobukuro.
In making the announcement, Lachie Rutherford, President, Warner Music Asia Pacific commented: “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. All of us at Warner Music deeply appreciate Kei’s tremendous contributions to our company, and he will be missed by everyone who had the privilege of working with him.”
Kei Ishizaka noted, “It has been a true honor to oversee Warner Music Japan for the past two and a half years. It 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. I want to thank Lachie for being an invaluable partner and the entire WMG global team for their wonderful support.”
Ishizaka will become Honorary Chairman of Warner Music Japan on April 1st, and will continue in that role until the end of October, in order to ensure a smooth transition to new leadership. Warner Music Japan is due to make further announcements about its leadership in the coming weeks.
Prior to joining Warner Music Japan, Kei Ishizaka was Senior Advisor and non-Executive Chairman for Universal Music Japan. He joined the company in 1994 as President, Universal Music Japan (then PolyGram K.K.), rising to President/CEO in 2001 and becoming Chairman and Chief Executive in 2006. Under Ishizaka’s leadership, Universal Music LLC (Japan) made history in 2008 by becoming market leader for the first time since its formation over 50 years earlier.
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. Before his tenure at Universal Music, Ishizaka was at Toshiba-EMI for 26 years. At EMI, where he rose to Executive Director in 1991, he worked with international legends including The Beatles and Pink Floyd as well as local superstars such as BOOWY and Tsuyoshi Nagabuchi.