The nomination of Koei Tecmo chair Keiko Erikawa to SoftBank Group’s board adds a veteran games industry executive known for her stock-picking skill. This brings an authoritative voice after the loss of senior industry figures.
Erikawa, 72, along with CEO husband Yoichi forms the executive team behind the “Romance of the Three Kingdoms” series. They had a long relationship with the SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son. This can be noted by the reference to him as “Son-chan” in a 2016 interview by them. Hideki Yasuda, an analyst at Ace Research Institute said that Erikawa speaks plainly and she is not the sort of person who would hesitate to express her views to Son.
SoftBank lost two of Japan’s most vocal corporate leaders, Uniqlo parent Fast Retailing founder Tadashi Yanai and Nidec founder Shigenobu Nagamori. in recent years. And so, there are changes in the board. The change is seen as suiting Erikawa, who in addition to her management chops has built a reputation for savvy investing in tech stocks.
At March-end Koei had 113 billion yen ($1.04 billion) in investment securities on its balance sheet. Erikawa said in an interview with Nikkei Veritas that she is close to Son. She sometimes compared him as a famous pro investor. But he’s a specialist. This pandemic induced slump in portfolio company valuations last year saw a period of alignment between SoftBank and investors calling for change. The group launching a $23 billion share buyback and reformed the board’s structure. Waseda University business professor Yuko Kawamoto, praised Son’s willingness to listen to others. He also said to develop an even better form of governance that is genuinely representative of SBG and its unique qualities through the group.