SEGA President Isao Okawa Dies

TOKYO, March 16 (Reuters) – Sega Corp said that its outspoken president Isao Okawa, who recently grabbed media headlines for his 85 billion yen ($695.7 million) private donation to the struggling gamemaker, died of heart failure on Friday. He was 74 years old.

When Sega made the tough decision of ending its flagship Dreamcast game console in January, Okawa took the unprecedented step of making the donation to ease its pain.

Okawa returned his entire stakes in Sega and other group firms — CSK Corp , Ascii Corp , and NextCom KK — to offset some of Sega’s financial burden from its January 31 decision to pull the plug on its loss-making game machine by end-March.

The gift, also involving shares in unlisted firms and convertible bonds, helped calm nervous investors about the outlook for the world’s third biggest gamemaker as it faced 80 billion yen in special losses from ending Dreamcast, leading to a record 58.3 billion yen net loss in the year to March.

Okawa also was founder and honorary chairman of information services company CSK and had been active in helping Sega and software publisher Ascii expand their networking businesses.

The Sonic Stadium may link to retailers and earn a small commission on purchases made from users who click those links. These links will only appear in articles related to the product, in an unobtrusive manner, and do not influence our editorial decisions in any way.