Canon’s new top gun — Kenji Kobayashi

By Martin Vedris

SYDNEY: Canon Australia has appointed Kenji Kobayashi as managing director of Canon Australia. He replaced Shuichi Tsukahara, who led Canon Oceania for seven years.

Kobayashi assumed his new role as managing director of Canon Australia Pty. Ltd. and chairman of Canon New Zealand on 1 September 2008.

Kobayashi is charged with managing the company’s strategic direction and, according to a statement from Canon Australia, “implementing his vision to grow Canon and make it the number one brand in all business and consumer imaging categories in Australia, particularly in terms of customer service”.

This is a significant appointment for the Australian market — Kobayashi’s experience and stature within Canon are an indication of the importance the company places on the Australian and New Zealand markets. He brings 27 years of experience at Canon, most recently as president and CEO of Canon Hong Kong Co. Ltd.

“With the ever-changing face of consumer and business technology, it’s important we stay focused on providing our customers with the best service and experience,” said Kobayashi. “The Australian market presents a unique set of challenges and opportunities, and my experience leading Canon in the Asian market has prepared me well for this role.”

Kobayashi has significant international experience. A graduate of Japan’s Keio University, Kobayashi joined Canon in 1981 and over the years served in senior management positions in the Netherlands, Italy and Japan.

In 2001, Kobayashi was appointed senior director and general manager of the Business Imaging Solution (BIS) Group within the Canon Asia Marketing Group. According to a statement from Canon, he led the group to double-digit annual growth in the region and achieved profitability in China, despite local challenges, including price sensitivity.

Canon said that in 2007, Kobayashi was appointed president and CEO of Canon Hong Kong where he continued their achievement of year-on-year sales growth for 46 consecutive months as of June 2008. He was also responsible for Canon’s business in Macau, Taiwan and Mongolia.

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