Japan 's Studio Ghibli has announced that Koji Hoshino has taken over as company president from Toshio Suzuki as of February 1.

Suzuki, who had served as producer of all Ghibli productions since 1989, became president in 2005 after the studio became independent from parent company Tokuma Publishing.

Suzuki stepped down to focus more on his producing duties but will remain on the board as executive director. Hoshino is expected to focus on boosting the company's merchandising revenues. 'Management aspects related to generating revenue may change, but I will not disrupt the production environment Mr. Suzuki has created until now,' he stated.

Koji Hoshino previously served as president of Walt Disney Japan. Hoshino's relationship with Ghibli dates back to 1996, with Disney distributing Princess Mononoke in the US as the studio's first US theatrical release, and also handling international video rights in the US and other key territories.

Although best known for the films of Hayao Miyazaki, original Ghibli partner Isao Takahata (Grave Of The Fireflies) and Miyazaki 's son Goro (Tales From Earthsea) both have new projects in development.

Hayao Miyazaki's Ponyo On A Cliff is released this summer through Toho.