Shintaro Tsuji, founder of children’s favourite Hello Kitty, steps down as CEO at the age of 92. Created by Shintaro in 1974, Hello Kitty became a favourite of millions of children and adults across the globe in the last four and a half decades. Last week, he announced his grandson Tomokuni Tsuji as the company’s new president and CEO. With this, Tomokuni became the youngest CEO of a company listed in Tokyo. Tsuji started Sanrio project, which brought out Hello Kitty, in 1973 in Tokyo. Although there were other characters Jimmy and Patty, Hello Kitty went on to become a hit.
Hello Kitty first appeared on a vinyl coin purse. Today, the brand has a range of products including puppets, handbags, dresses and stationery products. It is now sold in 130 countries. In Japan, there is a Hello Kitty theme park.
Back then, fans of Hello Kitty were surprised when Sanrio announced that Hello Kitty wasn’t a kitten, but a happy little girl. It is to be noted that the leadership transfer is happening during a crisis period. The 92-year-old founder entrusts Hello Kitty with his grandson at a time when the sales of the brand have fallen by 6% and the world markets are down due to the corona. What will be the changes the new CEO, who is 31 years younger than Hello Kitty, is going to introduce to regain the markets?