NPR

What Will Sanrio's New Leadership Mean For Hello Kitty?

A new CEO is steering a company that's seen years of slumping revenues and whose home market of Japan has an aging population. But "don't count out Hello Kitty," says an author of a book about Sanrio.
A display at Hello Kitty's Kawaii Paradise in Tokyo. Sanrio's new president and CEO Tomokuni Tsuji will be steering a company that has seen slumping revenues in recent years. Source: Hitoshi Yamada

New leadership has taken over at a company known for a particular brand of cute.

Shintaro Tsuji, the 92-year-old founder of Sanrio, the Japanese company that created Hello Kitty, handed over the reins to his 31-year-old grandson Tomokuni Tsuji, who officially became Sanrio's president and CEO on July 1. It's the first leadership change in the company's 60-year history.

Formerly Sanrio's senior managing director, the younger Tsuji is inheriting a multifaceted business that investors currently value at more than $1.3 billion.

Founded in 1960 as a dry goods company selling products.

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