By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Harry Elias will step down as honorable chairman of JVC Company of America on Dec. 31, ending his 37-year career with the company as well as his unofficial status as goodwill ambassador for consumer electronics.
Elias was named JVC's honorable chairman in March 2003 when he stepped down as executive VP/chief operating officer. He was named executive VP in 1990 and added the chief operating officer title in 1995. In addition to his duties with JVC, Elias was past chairman of the Consumer Electronics Association's video division and was a CEA board member.
Elias said in a written statement that he plans to pursue a career as a business consultant, leveraging his nearly four decades of experience as an American working within a Japanese company.
“Now is the time for me to take what I have learned over the years and teach others what really works in business,” he said.
Elias started out in the consumer electronics industry in 1957 as a salesman for VIM electronics, a retailer. He joined JVC 10 years later.
In the written statement, Elias was praised for his leadership in the consumer electronics industry by CE stalwarts Dick Schulze, chairman, founder and former CEO of Best Buy; Gateway Computers' CEO Wayne Inouye; and Joe Clayton, CEO of Sirius Satellite Radio.
Schulze said, “Harry's ethics and dedication to business continue to set a standard to which our industry aspires. We are proud to have worked, played and confided in Harry.”
Said Inouye, “I think Harry Elias has impacted more people in consumer electronics than anyone else in the industry. His love for the business — and pinching cheeks — will be truly missed. When the Lord created Harry, he broke the mold.”
Added Clayton, “Harry has always been at the forefront of innovation. From the age of the VCR to the world of digital, Harry has been a great communicator of what Americans want from the technology leaders in Asia, especially the Japanese. Everyone across the waters has the greatest respect for him.”
Elias has also been honored by the UJA-Federation's consumer electronic division, and he received the first Patricia Rienzi Legacy Award from the Anti-Defamation League.
Elias will maintain an office at JVC's headquarters until year's end. He can be reached at (973) 317-5106, at email@example.com, or by cellphone at (201) 310-3166.
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