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Pokémon USA President Akira Chiba Steps Down

posted on 2007-12-14 04:56 EST
Separately, Funimation hires Suncoast co-founder Ross to be its COO

The brand property management company Pokémon USA announced on Tuesday that its president, Akira Chiba, will resign his position at the end of the year. Kenji Okubo, the current executive vice president and head of the company's Seattle office, will take over Chiba's position on January 1. Pokémon USA was established as a subsidiary of The Pokémon Company to handle the brand outside Asia.

Chiba joinied the company when its first overseas headquarters was established in New York in 2002. He has since overseen Pokémon's gradual revival in North America and elsewhere. Under his watch, Pokémon USA took back the license to the Pokémon animated franchise from 4Kids Entertainment and started producing the overseas adaptations in-house. He was previously a director of international business at The Pokémon Company in Japan.

In a separate development, Funimation announced at the New York Anime Festival last weekend that it hired Gary Ross to fill its position of chief operating officer. Ross was the co-founder of the Suncoast chain of entertainment retail outlets. He also worked as an executive for Top Hat Inc. and held other jobs with Blockbuster, Musicland, The Gap, and Target. Ross replaces Ward Thomas, who left the company earlier this year after a short transition period.


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