In an unexpected development, it has been reported by the pop culture news site that Alvin Lu, Viz Media executive v-p of publishing, has left the company. Lu has worked for the manga publisher since 2000 and was an instrumental figure in the house’s move to original graphic novel publishing, its transition to digital distribution and Viz’s move to simultaneous Japanese and English language publication.

According to, Lu will be replaced by Viz v-p of editorial Leyla Aker and director of sales and marketing and publishing Kevin Hamric. Lu was promoted to executive v-p publishing in April 2012 and worked as a liason between Viz Media’s Japan-based parent companies—Viz is co-owned by Shogakukan, Shueisha and Shogakukan Productions in Japan—and its San Francisco-based U.S. headquarters.

Viz confirmed to PW that Aker and Hamric will take over Lu’s duties at Viz. “Yes, Alvin is No longer at Viz Media. It was really sad to see him go,” Jane Lui, a spokesperson for Viz, said. “He's been such a part of our history and growth over the 13 years he's been with the company. We're grateful for all he's done to help us get to where we are now, and wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors!”