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Late Sega exec leaves legacy, new leadership

Late Sony president Isao Okawa donated $695.7 million to the struggling game company
Late Sega president Isao Okawa donated $695 million to the struggling game company  

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Reaching into his own pockets

'New blood to take over'

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TOKYO, Japan (CNN) -- Sega president Isao Okawa, who recently made headlines for his $695.7 million private donation to the struggling game maker, passed away on Friday.

The 74 year-old executive died of heart failure.

He leaves a legacy as a "compassionate capitalist" who took an unprecedented step in making a personal donation to ease the pain of the beleaguered company.

Sega has selected 40 year-old special advisor Tetsu Kayama to succeed the late president, according to company sources quoted in Japanese media.

In 1968, Okawa launched CSK, a company that dispatched computer programmers to businesses.

With CSK, Okawa made a series of key acquisitions including game console maker Sega Enterprises in 1984.

CSK later became the first independent information-processing firm to list on the first section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange in 1985.

Reaching into his own pockets

When Sega decided to pull the plug on its flagship Dreamcast game console and focus on software, Okawa reached into his own pockets to offset Sega's financial burden.

Okawa returned his entire stake in Sega and other group firms including CSK, Ascii, and NextCom after the company decided to halt production of its loss-making game machine.

The gift helped pacify nervous investors about the future of the world's third biggest game maker as it faced $650 million in special losses from ending Dreamcast, leading to a record $473 million net loss in the year to March.

'New blood to take over'

Sega's president-elect Kayama formerly managed game and content development at publishing company Recruit before Okawa lured him to Sega.

Analysts doubt that there would be any major impact in Sega's stock price resulting from the transition in leadership.

"I don't anticipate any major impact in the stock price because of this," says gaming analyst Zachary Liggett at West LB.

"It's a loss personally for the people involved in Sega, but for the operational leadership the team is already in place."

"There's new blood there to take over."



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