Kobo Executive Team
President and CEO
Michael is the President and Chief Executive Officer at Rakuten Kobo. Driving growth, profitability and international expansion in a fiercely competitive market, he combines a passion for reading with a deep focus on the hardware and software experiences that can make a customer’s reading life better. A passionate and engaging presenter and commentator, Michael speaks internationally on digital media, publishing and mobile technology and has been featured in The New Yorker, Wired, Canadian Business, National Post, Globe and Mail and The New York Times. Additionally, he oversees Rakuten's other eReading businesses including OverDrive, the world leader in ebook services for libraries, and Aquafadas, a world leader in interactive publishing. Michael has been a part of Rakuten Kobo’s executive team since its inception in 2009, and previously held the role of Chief Content Officer.
Prior to joining Kobo, Michael was the founding CEO of the supply chain agency, BookNet Canada and co-founded Canada’s first online bookstore, Bookshelf.ca, purchased by Indigo Books & Music in 1998 to create Indigo.ca, where he served as VP of Online Operations.
Michael holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Western Ontario.Read more less
Takahito “Taka” Aiki
Takahito “Taka” Aiki is the Chairman at Rakuten Kobo, previously Chief Executive Officer, and brings with him a wealth of experience to the role.
He began his career at Japanese telecom giant NTT before embarking on his first of two successful stints at global management consultancy Bain & Company, where he was named Coach of the Year and managed the Firm’s Project of the Year in 2006. Taka also spent two years at Tsutaya, Japan’s largest chain of video rental shops and bookstores. There, he helmed corporate planning and marketing for Tsutaya Online, where he led growth in online membership from two to five million members.
In 2007, Taka joined Rakuten, Inc., where he was assigned to the company’s struggling telecoms business, Fusion Communications, which was losing three billion JPY per year at the time. In 2009, he was named CEO, where he executed a 180-degree turnaround in Fusion’s business, which is now a reliable profit centre for Rakuten – generating two billion JPY per year in profit. In addition to leading Fusion, Taka also managed six other Rakuten Group businesses, including Media and Marketing Research. He is also a Rakuten, Inc. Managing Executive Officer.
Taka graduated from Cornell’s MBA program in 1999 and is an avid book lover and a big sports fan, especially of the Tohoku Rakuten Eagles baseball team.Read more less
Trevor is the Chief Technology Officer at Rakuten Kobo, and is responsible for the innovative technology behind all facets of Kobo’s world-class eReading service. He oversees the engineering practice that holds quality and innovation in high regard, while always keeping the key focus on what customers want and need in a digital reading ecosystem. Previously, Trevor held the role of Enterprise Architect at Rakuten Kobo, where he devised actionable strategies to support the company’s business goals by employing best practices, while ensuring development and operational reliability for internet-scale architectures.
Prior to joining Rakuten Kobo, Trevor held various roles at Infusion, where he grew his experience as a trusted advisor through his work across a diverse set of verticals including retail, travel & hospitality, and financial services.
Trevor holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from the University of Ulster.Read more less
CSO & EVP, Acquisitions
Spencer is the Chief Strategy Officer & Executive Vice President, Acquisitions at Rakuten Kobo. He is responsible for strategy development and cross-functional strategic alignment as the company pursues growth and development in a rapidly changing industry. Drawing upon his broad strategy experience across multiple industries and geographies, Spencer drives strategic business development and the execution of synergies for Rakuten Kobo within the Rakuten group of companies. In addition, he is responsible for strengthening and building the company’s relationships with retail partners around the world to further drive sales of Kobo’s products.
Prior to joining Rakuten Kobo, Spencer spent nine years in strategy consulting with Bain & Company, followed by leadership positions in strategy, business improvement and business development in consumer goods and retail – most recently with the luxury retailer Holt Renfrew, which is part of the Selfridges Group.
Spencer has international experience living and working in Canada, USA, Latin America, UK, France, India, Japan, China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia. He speaks a variety of languages and holds an MBA from the Ivey Business School and an MA in International Affairs from the Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris.Read more less
CMO & EVP
Alan is the Chief Marketing Officer and Executive Vice President at Rakuten Kobo, and is responsible for brand, the customer lifecycle, customer loyalty, and oversees the Big Data and CRM organizations. He has unparalleled knowledge about Rakuten Kobo’s customers, and focuses on the customer relationship from acquisition to retention.
Alan also serves as Chief Strategy Officer of OverDrive, Inc. based in Cleveland, Ohio. OverDrive is the world’s leader in ebook lending in partnership with more than 30,000 public libraries and schools.
Prior to joining Kobo, he held marketing positions at Chapters Online, CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation), and Bell Mobility. Most recently, Alan served on the executive team at Sirius Satellite Radio as VP, CRM, where he was also a founding member of the management team for the Canadian organization.Read more less
As Rakuten Kobo’s Executive Vice President, Finance, Dan is responsible for keeping the company’s financial house in order as Rakuten Kobo grows its market share and expands globally. He is responsible for setting the financial strategy and overseeing the finance department’s activities, which include financial planning & performance management; internal controls & compliance; and operational support for all areas of the business. Since he joined Rakuten Kobo in its first year of operation, Dan has played a key role in the achievement of many milestones, including the establishment of foundational system implementations during the start-up phase; sell-side deal support throughout the Rakuten acquisition phase; and leading financial due diligence initiatives in the course of closing several key strategic partnership agreements and acquisitions that have proved pivotal in the company’s on-going hyper-growth initiatives.
Prior to joining Rakuten Kobo, Dan held several executive finance positions at growth-oriented technology companies including: Novator eCommerce, PlateSpin, and Open Text where he contributed to strategic decision-making and the establishment of foundational processes connected to the financial objectives. Prior to his experience in the technology field, Dan worked at KPMG while attaining his professional accountancy designation.
Dan holds an Honours Bachelor of Business Administration from Wilfrid Laurier University; he also holds his Chartered Professional Accountancy designation.Read more less
EVP, Supply Chain Management & Customer Care
Scott is the Executive Vice President, Supply Chain Management & Customer Care at Rakuten Kobo. He is responsible for leading all elements of the global supply chain and operations, which include forecasting, vendor management, inventory, cost management, distribution, and compliance. Utilizing his supply chain experience, he established business processes specifically built to efficiently support Rakuten Kobo’s global expansion and distribution needs, while improving flexibility and reducing costs. Scott also oversees the company’s Customer Care organization, and is responsible for setting strategies built to add value and increase customer loyalty to grow the bottom line.
Prior to joining Rakuten Kobo, Scott held senior supply chain management and operations positions at Spin Master, where he managed large inventories worth hundreds of millions of dollars per year and was instrumental in supporting significant revenue growth. He also worked at Celestica, where he held a variety of roles and worked on top accounts such as Motorola, Sun Micro Systems, and Juniper.
Scott studied Business Marketing at Sheridan College.Read more less
EVP, Publisher Relations and Content
Pieter is the Executive Vice President, Publisher Relations and Content and is responsible for managing Rakuten Kobo’s global publisher relations team for ebooks and magazines. In his role, he oversees publisher relationships, acquisition, publisher operations and Kobo Writing Life, Kobo’s independent publishing business.
Pieter joined Rakuten Kobo in 2011 and was formerly Vice President, Publisher Relations and Merchandising for non-English territories.
Before joining the company, Pieter worked in the international publishing industry, most recently as Publisher and Vice Director at De Bezige Bij (The Busy Bee) in Amsterdam. He holds an MA in English Literature from the University of Amsterdam and MPhil in Anglo-Irish Literature from Trinity College, Dublin.Read more less
EVP, Content Sales
Dave is the Executive Vice President, Content Sales at Rakuten Kobo. Managing a global network of local merchandising and sales teams in almost 20 countries, he is responsible for growing revenue and margin of the eBook business worldwide. He oversees merchandising, promotions and pricing as well as content analytics, and works closely with the CRM and Big Data teams to optimize the Rakuten Kobo offering, ensuring every customer finds the right book at the right price.
Dave joined Rakuten Kobo in 2011 and was formerly the Vice President, Publisher Relations and Merchandising for English territories.
Before joining the company, Dave was a management consultant with Accenture where he focused on retail operations and international market expansion. Prior to Accenture, he spent seven years with Indigo Books & Music Inc. working in the areas of supply chain, inventory management and assortment planningRead more less