Rakuten Appoints Executive Naho Kono as its Chief Marketing Officer

Rakuten, Inc., a Japanese electronic commerce and internet company, has announced a change in its leadership team. On Wednesday, the company revealed that it has appointed Naho Kono as its Chief Marketing Officer (CMO).

Kono is a long-serving veteran at Rakuten, having been with the company for more than 15 years. The appointment as CMO, which was effective from November 1, 2018, is another feather in her cap – adding to her positions of Group Managing Executive Officer and Senior Vice President of the firm’s e-commerce operations.

When Kono first joined the firm in 2003, she was in a marketing role, having joined from SBI Securities. At the firm, she has since held a number of roles in this field ranging from sales, marketing, media planning, UI/UX, mobile strategy and compliance.

Due to her extensive tenure at Rakuten, Kono is one of the leading female executives in e-commerce in Japan. In 2017, she made headlines when she was appointed to head the company’s flagship Rakuten Ichiba marketplace and oversee the firm’s e-commerce operations including the C2C marketplaces Rakuma and Fril, Rakuten Books and Kenko.com.

This move was particularly notable as Kono was the first executive to assume this responsibility from Mickey Mikitani, who had held the position since he founded the company two decades ago.

Naho Kono Continues to Make Her Mark at Rakuten

During her career, Kono has achieved numerous milestones. In May 2013, she was the youngest woman to be appointed as an executive officer. She was also the first woman to achieve this level of line responsibility in the company.

From 2005, Kono has been instrumental in the development of the firms mobile e-commerce, which as of February 2017, accounted for approximately 60 percent of the total transactions on Rakuten Ichiba.

In an interview with Rakuten Today, the official blog of the company in 2017 Kono spoke on her reason why she joined the firm. She said: “When I joined Rakuten, I was obsessed with mobile because I was sure that was going to be the platform of the future, especially when I saw all those people on the commuter trains in the morning staring into their phones.”

“It was still early days in adoption and I was a young woman already active on mobile, so I was close to our potential users. I felt I could learn a lot quickly about mobile online shopping from a unique perspective and contribute something in the company that might make a difference.”

(Photo: Rakuten Today)

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