David Blecken
Sep 25, 2017

Essence's former Japan head to lead Sumitomo's digital expansion

Daizo Nishitani will lead the conglomerate in its digital media ambitions.

Daizo Nishitani
Daizo Nishitani

Daizo Nishitani has joined Sumitomo Corporation as executive producer of the company’s media and entertainment business department. Nishitani was previously managing director of Essence Digital in Tokyo.

Nishitani said Sumitomo, a diversified company with interests ranging from construction to consumer goods, is now thinking seriously about building a presence in the fields of digital media and marketing. The company is looking to establish advertising subsidiaries and collaborate with content creators in Japan and internationally.

Earlier this year, Sumitomo partnered with The Chernin Group, a US media company run by Peter Chernin, a former News Corporation executive. The group owns Chernin Entertainment, a TV a feature film producer, and has investments in various digital media properties such as Crunchyroll (an animation video streaming service), Pandora Media (an internet radio company), and news aggregator Flipboard.

Nishitani was unable to provide detailed information on his role at this time but said he expects it to evolve into something more “strategic”. While 97-year-old Sumitomo is a notable change from an agency like Essence, Nishitani said he does not anticipate any difficulty in adjusting to the culture. He cited the chance to develop an entirely new area, and the fact that Sumitomo is a cash-rich company looking to make investments, as key reasons for the move.

Nishitani left Essence just over a year after joining. He began his career at Dentsu and has also worked at Disney, Viacom, ComScore and Apple.

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