Takama Ohbari To Become NJPW President In October, Harold Meij Leaving Post

A Look At The Business Side Of NJPW

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NJPW Lionmark Logo via New Japan Pro Wrestling

Earlier today, New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) announced a shift in the front office makeup of the Bushiroad subsidiary. From the English language NJPW website:

At a meeting of New Japan Pro-Wrestling’s parent company Bushiroad’s board of directors today September 29, 2020, a change was announced in NJPW’s directorship. This change will take effect at the beginning of 

NJPW’s 50th year of trading on October 23rd. 

Outgoing President/CEO 

Harold Meij

New NJPW President/CEO (as of October 23)

Takami Ohbari (current NJPW of America CEO)

The Japanese language website went into further detail regarding incoming Chief Executive Officer (CEO), President Takama Ohbari adding biographical information:

Biography of the newly appointed CEO

Name: Takami Obari

● Date of Birth

August 15, 1974

● Biography

April 1997 Joined Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation

December 2018 Joined Bushiroad Co., Ltd. Executive Officer (current position)

January 2019 Seconded to the Company General Manager of Corporate Planning Department (current position)

November 2019 New Japan Pro-Wrestling of America Inc. CEO (current position)

Ohbari, who has been the CEO/President of New Japan of America (NJoA) since its inception, has handled the day to day affairs of the promotion — overseeing the launch of New Japan Strong, which could eventually lead to a lucrative television rights deal within the United States, has been a focal point behind the scenes as NJPW continues to increase its popularity outside of Japan.

Harold Meij’s Last Message

Outgoing CEO/President of NJPW, Harold Meij has consistently posted a Japanese language column on NJPW’s Japanese language website since officially taking over the role on June 1, 2018, from then outgoing President Katsuhiko Harada.

In his last entry, published earlier today, entitled ‘Last Message’ he said his goodbyes to the NJPW community.

It’s been two and a half years since [I became NJPW President and] I tried many things with my employees and achieved results such as business expansion. New Japan Pro-Wrestling is the best organization where all the wrestlers and employees are wonderful, their talents and efforts are gathered and teamwork is outstanding. It was a short time, but I am delighted to be involved in this work, and I will be proud of this in the future.

The above passage was edited for clarity in English. Meij would also thank NJPW fans for continuing to support the product, and encouraged the continued support of the company going forward.

Why The Change Now?

NJPW usually does a job of keeping information ‘in house’ unless they want the public to know about an internal struggle within the company. The move likely isn’t occurring due to the companies financial performance, as only the COVID-19 (Coronavirus, 2019) pandemic has been able to bring a slight blip in revenue increases over the past decade.

The company typically sees a new person in the role of President every few years, with Naoki Sugabayashi serving as Chairman of NJPW since September 2013. Sugabayashi served as NJPW President from April 2007 to September 2013 upon appointment to his current position. Sugabyashi has served as Chairman of NJoA since November 2019.

The move also has nothing to do with the wrestling operation side of the company. The creative team of Gedo and Jado have full autonomy regarding the direction of the on-screen product with NJPW living by a strict ‘separation between church and state’ policy regarding the business and wrestling sides of the company. Bushiroad employs the same strategy regarding World Wonder Ring Stardom (Stardom).

If Ohbari’s appointment is in conjunction with him retaining his role as President of NJoA, it could be an attempt to consolidate business strategies between the two current brands under the NJPW banner. 

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