Three months after announcing the transition, Line has officially received shareholder approval to appoint Takeshi Idezawa, the messaging app’s former chief operating officer, as its chief executive officer. The company said that Idezawa will take over the reins from its previous CEO, Akira Morikawa, today.
Morikawa will move on to a position as an advisor.
It has been a busy year for Line as it seeks to transform itself from a messaging app into a platform that provides a wide array of services for users to access from their smartphones. According to Line, Idezawa’s accomplishments during his 12 months as COO include Line’s new “LIFE platform strategy,” which wants to turn the app into “an integral part of everyday life in an era where smartphones have evolved into an indispensable device for people all over the world.”
The “LIFE platform strategy” has included the creation of a $42 million fund to invest in companies that provide online-to-offline, e-commerce, payment, media, and entertainment services that can potentially be integrated into Line’s core app.
One of the main reasons Line is focusing on adding more services to its platform is to make sure that its earnings are no longer so closely tied to its main messaging app (which monetizes through branded accounts and the sale of stickers) or its connected games platform. Revenue from games have plateaued for Line, as well as other messaging apps like WeChat.
The company is also key to grow outside of Japan, Taiwan, and Thailand, its key markets in Asia. Last year, Line postponed its IPO to focus on its global business, with Idezawa saying that it would localize features for different markets, like voice services in Europe.