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Oguchi inaugurated as Sega president

Sega has officially changed its top executive, with Hisao Oguchi taking the reins of the company from outgoing president Hideki Sato at a shareholders conference in Tokyo on Friday.

Sega has officially changed its top executive, with Hisao Oguchi taking the reins of the company from outgoing president Hideki Sato at a shareholders conference in Tokyo on Friday.

Oguchi-san's appointment was announced in May, but has only now become official after being approved by a shareholder vote. Former president Sato-san, whose resignation was a response to anger within the financial community about Sega's soap opera style merger negotiations earlier this year, is now a figurehead chairman at the company, and has no representation on the company's board.

Indeed, the fallout from those merger talks continues, with Sato-san fielding a number of questions from investors regarding the talks. "This aimless wandering on the part of Sega management had a terrible effect on employee morale within the company," according to one investor at the conference, who called on the company's management to "get your act together."

In response, Sato-san claimed that he had been acting in the best interests of the company in pursuing the merger discussions - and more proactively, Oguchi-san outlined a number of plans designed to placate both employees and shareholders alike following the debacle.

According to Oguchi-san, Sega hopes to be in a position to pay dividends to shareholders within the next three years - having paid no dividend whatsoever in the past four years. The new president also outlined a number of incentive programs for Sega employees, which are aimed at raising morale within the company.

Once again, Oguchi-san returned to one of his favourite topics since his appointment as president was announced - namely the North American software market, where he hopes to grow Sega's market share significantly. "Software meant for America will be produced at the companies we own in the area," he explained, indicating a new focus on development outside Japan.

In a related story, legendary developer Yu Suzuki is expected to announce the future development plans of Sega's AM2 department at some point in July. Speculation has been rife over the direction which the studio will take since Suzuki called for the public to write to AM2 expressing interest in another chapter in the Shenmue saga. The response to this petition is expected to be a factor in deciding whether the famed studio will pursue another epic Shenmue title, or return to focusing on arcade projects.

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Rob Fahey avatar

Rob Fahey

Contributing Editor

Rob Fahey is a former editor of GamesIndustry.biz who spent several years living in Japan and probably still has a mint condition Dreamcast Samba de Amigo set.

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