Michael Tamblyn has been made c.e.o of Kobo, taking over from Takahito (Taka) Aiki, who was in charge of the company for just under two years.
Aiki will remain involved in Kobo as its chairman, the company said. The changes will become effective in January 2016.
A founding member of Kobo in 2009, Tamblyn was named president of the company in April 2014. Shortly before that, Mike Serbinis stood down as the chief executive of Kobo in February 2014, replaced by Aiki, a former executive in Kobo’s parent company Rakuten.
Tamblyn now becomes president and c.e.o, and will continue to work closely with Aiki in a new role as vice executive manager of the companies in the Rakuten Global eBook Business, which include Kobo, Kobo Japan; OverDrive and Aquafadas, a software development company specialising in digital publishing applications.
In addition to his role as Chairman of Rakuten Kobo, Aiki will continue in his role as managing executive officer of Rakuten’s global e-book business.
Aiki said: “I came to Kobo in February 2014 with a mission to work closely with the executive team to bring the company to its next level of sustainable growth on the global stage. We have done incredible work in the past 22 months and the discipline, innovative thinking, financial planning and customer focus are exactly where they need to be for success.”
He added: “We have achieved dramatically improved financial performance and I have full confidence in the current executive to lead this company into the future. I very much look forward to working closely with Michael as c.e.o and as a partner guiding all of Rakuten’s digital reading properties, to extend Rakuten’s vision of global leadership in offering digital and internet services that connect people and empower society.”
Since February 2014, Tamblyn and Aiki have led Rakuten’s acquisition of OverDrive; the launch of Kobo’s digital reading service in Mexico with two of the country’s biggest bookstore chains, Librerias Porrúa and Gandhi; and the acquisition of the customers from Sony’s e-book business and from the UK e-reading service BlinkBox. In the same period the company has also launched three new devices: The world’s first premium waterproof e-reader, the Kobo Aura H2O, Kobo Glo HD and Kobo Touch 2.0.
Tamblyn said: “I am looking forward to my role in ensuring our parent company, Rakuten, achieves its vision of enriching every stage of a reader’s life. Together with OverDrive and Aquafadas, we want the best possible reading experiences for schools, libraries, institutions, corporations and consumers, enabling readers to buy or borrow digital content anywhere in the world.”