Roland Gives “Mr. K” The Boot – Dennis Houlihan Takes The Reins
Roland has finally put “Mr. K” out to pasture with several executive moves in an effort to right the lilting ship that is now Roland. Mr. Ikutaro Kakehashi is resigning from his current roles as Chairman and Director of Roland Corporation U.S. and will be succeeded by Dennis Houlihan, formally the President and CEO, who has been with the company since 1993.
Chris Bristol, who is currently the Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing, will become the President and CEO. Bristol has been with the Japanese concern since 1978, mostly in a Sales capacity in the States.
Mr. K lost his edge in the mid-nineties when he refused to re-issue the TB-303. The decision cost Roland millions and only after massive external (and internal) pressure did the company come out with the tepid MC-303. The MC offered little of the original tweak box’s mojo and tried to simply cash-in on the 303 moniker. The savvy consumer was not amused.
Additional missteps were tolerated, but when the economy tanked and Mr. K hit 80 years old, the time was ripe for regime change.
The Future: There’s a lot of similarities between the major Japanese gear companies and America’s big four automakers: Lack of innovation, refusal to depart from standardized distribution models, unrealistic pricing, disregard for the consumer’s needs, and failure to acquire ground-breaking new companies with compelling technology. Roland should have shown Mr. K the door years ago, but somehow couldn’t muster the sack to segue the company’s founder into a position that would cause the least amount of damage. Will Roland ever get back to their coveted position at the top of the gear food chain? Let’s hope Dennis has the answer…