Panasonic to Appoint New President

Feb. 28, 2012
Personnel change at consumer electronics giant announced as company readies for worst-ever net loss.

Panasonic said Tuesday it will replace its president in June, as the Japanese consumer electronics giant readies to record its worst ever net loss.

Senior managing director Kazuhiro Tsuga, 55, will become the one of the youngest presidents at the firm since founder Konosuke Matsushita established it as a store selling electrical wiring equipment in 1918.

Tsuga will replace current President Fumio Ohtsubo, 66, who will step aside to become a chairman after six years in the role.

The announcement came after Panasonic said it expected a 780 billion yen ($9.7 billion) net loss for the year to March due to the strong yen, flooding in Thailand hitting output and costs to purchase smaller rival Sanyo.

The projected loss will be one of the worst ever recorded by any non-financial Japanese firm and its announcement prompted credit downgrades by ratings agencies.

Japan's electronics sector has been badly hit by the appreciation of the yen, which makes exporters' products less competitive overseas, while falling prices and slow demand at home have also eaten into profits.

Panasonic, along with its domestic rivals, has also failed to turn a profit from televisions, despite their status as a must-have bit of kit for households all over the developed world.

The personnel change came a month after Sony also opted to go for a younger man, nominating vice president Kazuo Hirai, 51, to replace Welsh-born Howard Stringer, 69.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012

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