Morikawa has been instrumental in the app’s successful growth over the past couple of years, and it’s not yet clear why he chose to step down at this time.
Akira Morikawa was appointed as the CEO of NHN Japan Corporation (“NHN Japan”) and Naver Japan Corporation (“Naver Japan”) in 2007. Since then, he has overseen a variety of services, including online games and the search engine business. At the end of 2010, he implemented a drastic strategic shift toward smartphones, ultimately resulting in the birth of LINE in June 2011. The company has since grown to become the operator of one of the biggest global messenger apps. Three group companies, namely NHN Japan, Naver Japan, and livedoor Co. Ltd. (“livedoor”), were integrated in January 2012 in order to centralize management. Due to the expansion of business, the game business division and web service division were spun off in April 2013 in order to further accelerate growth. The company was later renamed LINE Corporation, where Akira Morikawa dedicated himself to cultivating a creative environment for continuous innovation, as well as the acceleration of business expansion.
LINE has been rapidly expanding its service offerings over the past year under Akira Morikawa
LINE’s chief operations officer, Takeshi Idezawa, will replace Morikawa following a shareholders meeting and board meeting in March. Morikawa didn’t say in a blog post where he might go after LINE, but he will continue to be an advisor to the company.
LINE has been rapidly expanding its service offerings over the past year, particularly in the last couple of months. In addition to the rapidly expanding gaming platform, the company has also launched a indoor mapping service, a music-streaming service, has purchased MixRadio from Microsoft, and recently released a payment service known as LINE Pay. There’s also the company’s WebToon comic application.