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Former Zynga, SEGA, KOEI TECMO executive joins SNK as CEO

Kenji Matsubara with SNK logo

SNK announced the appointment of its new CEO, Kenji Matsubara, effective August 1, 2021.

Kenji Matsubara will be taking up the role of head executive in SNK. SNK owns numerous video game franchises, most notably Metal Slug, The King of FightersFatal FurySamurai Shodown, as well as the arcade archive of the NEO GEO. Matsubara replaces Ge Zhihui, who has held the position since 2016. It appears that Ge Zhihui will remain as the company’s president and chairman, however.

Prior to joining SNK, Matsubara has also held prestigious positions in other video game companies. Matsubara started his career with Hitachi and moved to Oracle in 1997. He started his video game industry career when he joined Koei in 2001. He became Representative Director and President of Koei in 2007, and retained his position when it merged with Tecmo to become Koei Tecmo in 2009. He would later join Zynga Japan to become its CEO and President, before moving on to SEGA Networks as CTO and Director. In 2017, he would become COO and President of SEGA Games, before finally being appointed as CPO of SEGA in 2020.

“We warmly welcome Mr. Matsubara who has a wealth of business expertise and experience in leading the game industry,” reads SNK’s statement. “He brought tangible success to prestigious companies with his extensive experience in game software development, marketing, and sales both in Japan and overseas. We will aim for further growth and an increase in corporate value under his leadership. With the appointment of Kenji, we promise that SNK is positioning itself for a new phase of growth and development.”