Chairman to step down

In a bit of surprise news this morning, a Gifu Shimbun (the local newspaper) article revealed that club chairman Daijirou Kunda is to step down from his role in the next month or so. His replacement will be named at a Gifu shareholders meeting in April.

Kunda was appointed chairman in September 2012 and was tasked with two things; to turn around the financial fortunes of the club and to foster a more local outlook for the club. It is safe to say that he has done quite well on both accounts.

When Kunda took over, the club was in financial dire straits to the tune of roughly Â¥136m of debt. That is well on the way to being taken care of thanks to Kunda’s most important action: bringing aboard J.Trust’s Fujisawa as main backer. J.Trust’s money helped stabilize the club, and helped the club bring in much needed reinforcements during last season, namely Stipe Plazibat, Blazhe Ilijovski & Kosuke Kitani. Those three between them played a vital role in keeping Gifu in J2 last year. And the improved financial situation is clear for all to see this year, which will continue to get better if this initial optimism can be sustained and crowds continue to flock to Nagaragawa.

As for localizing, under Kunda’s leadership the club have signed Gifu natives Tsukasa Masuyama, Takumi Kiyomoto & Junki Endo whilst at the same time securing sponsorship from Seino Holdings (based in Ogaki), Himaraya Sports (head office in Gifu) and NGK (head office in neighbouring Aichi prefecture). And of course he brought in the J.Trust group that, while headquartered in Tokyo, is run by a Gifu native.

Chairman in the main get the rough end of the stick. A lot of people don’t get to see the difficult decisions & negotiations that are made at board level. To try and guide FC Gifu through incredibly difficult financial times must have been a hugely difficult task. It isn’t to say I agreed with everything that he put forward, but he made some very tough decisions that have, in the end, resulted in benefits for the club.

My guess is that he will stay on in some capacity, while someone from one of the copious amounts of new sponsors will be moved into the top role, possibly even Fujisawa from J.Trust. We’ll have to wait until April to find out, but most fans will be thankful for Kunda’s stewardship through difficult times. Good work Mr.Chairman.

Onwards & upwards!


7 thoughts on “Chairman to step down

  1. toyohiko tohmatsu March 14, 2014 / 12:19 am

    Last year the day after victory against Vissel Kobe I sent a Haiku to chaiman Daijirou Kunda.
    It is very difficult to translate Haiku to different languages.

    Summer heat
    Remaining on a lawn ground
    Dreams splashing

    He really did a good job !

    • stuartgifu March 14, 2014 / 1:53 pm

      It sounds like a very nice Haiku! I’m afraid I’m not very good at them.

      But I will say that he did a good job in some very difficult times for the club. That’s why most people will be thankful.

  2. 016chubu March 14, 2014 / 9:45 pm

    Hello Stuart-san, how are you doing ?

    I was wondering why I didn’t see you at the stadium last two matches, but I got the reason now.
    You worked as a press at the stadium, didn’t you?
    Your photos from the pitch level have tremendous impacts. I really like them !

    By the way, after we got off to a quite good start, we had a another good news (of course a bit sad though) that we will have a new club chairman in the end.
    The appointment of Mr. Kunda was considered as an interim step to the appointment of non-governmental chairman.
    So this means we are progressing to the next step now.

    I want to give a special thanks to Mr.Kunda and I certainly look forward to seening the next young chairman who is said he would be in his late 30s and is a native of Gifu.

    • stuartgifu March 17, 2014 / 11:24 pm

      Hello! Yes, the last two games I have been in the main stand, but I want to get back in around the fans next time too. Unfortunately, the next two home games are on Saturdays, and I have to work so I will probably miss them.

      Like I said, I think Mr. Kunda did a good job in very difficult times. I’m interested to see if the new chairman is from Gifu – that would be great! And I hope his first act will be to build a new clubhouse!!

      I hope to see you at the stadium again soon!!

      • toyohiko tohmatsu March 19, 2014 / 11:27 pm

        May i join your talking?
        I also have been in the stadium at the last two home games.
        It was very gerat fan that my friends , my family and I watched the legendary home games !!!
        I will also miss the next game.
        Probably Dortmund is now stronger than our team……

      • stuartgifu March 21, 2014 / 7:27 pm

        Yes, the atmosphere has been great in the first two games. I hope it continues on Saturday!

        It is a shame that you can’t make the next game, but I’m sure you’ll be able to catch the highlights somewhere. I’m a bit nervous because I think Shonan are a really good team in J2, so it will be a difficult game – but we have to be positive.

        And I think Dortmund are probably a little stronger than Gifu at the moment 🙂

  3. toyohiko tohmatsu April 1, 2014 / 11:36 pm

    Boys, run faster than Dortmund !!!

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