DIRECTOR AND SENIOR ADVISOR
POWER SCORE: 965
POSITION LAST YEAR: Nil
CLAIMS TO FAME
- Largest individual shareholder of Japan’s second largest pachinko operator
Dynam’s former Managing Director, Makoto Sakamoto was handed the reins of Japan’s second largest pachinko operator after long-time CEO Kohei Sato stepped down in April. Yet the balance of power still rests firmly within the Sato family’s hands – particularly those of Kohei’s older brother Yoji.
With a near 34% stake in the family company – founded by his father in 1967 – Yoji Sato is said to remain the key decision maker at Dynam despite having stepped down as Chairman in 2015.
Certainly he is the most powerful among peers, with an estimated personal fortune of US$810 million as of April 2020 according to Forbes, and to this day still shapes the business strategy driving Dynam forward.
That’s not an easy task in an industry that continues to contract – even before COVID-19 intervened with yet another unwanted hurdle.
In April, Dynam shut down 428 of the 448 pachinko halls (down from 450 a year earlier) under its operations, reopening 101 of them in May and the remainder in June. However, the company flagged the need to cut machine costs by 20%, variable costs by 15%, personnel costs by 10% and fixed costs by 5% in order to navigate the pandemic.
“We will control decrease of revenue due to the influence from coronavirus infection and secure the stable earnings continuously by lowering the break-even point through productivity reform and restructuring,” it said at the time.
Meanwhile, Dynam continues to refocus its energies on converting its high playing-cost halls to low playing-cost halls and targeting entertainment over volatility, a response to recent regulatory changes impacting pachinko payout levels.
It is estimated that the number of pachinko players Japan-wide has fallen by two-thirds over the past 25 years, with the number of halls falling from 10,060 last year to 9,638 in 2020.
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