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"Panasonic" Becomes Panasonic On Wall St.

Duncan Niederauer, CEO of the embattled New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), cracked, “We are glad September is over,” to the delight of Yoshi Yamada, chairman and CEO of Panasonic Corporation of America and the CE manufacturers guests.

Yamada, key Panasonic executives and guests gathered this morning at the

NYSE today because Panasonic finally became Panasonic.

Panasonic took the name of its leading brand and made it the name of the entire company worldwide today, replacing its old name Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd., and celebrated that, plus its 90th anniversary, by having Yamada ring the opening bell at the NYSE this morning. Check out a video of it here.

Panasonic’s trading symbol on the Exchange became “PC” today and one guest noted, “Microsoft is probably going to eat their hearts out when they find out about the ‘PC’ symbol!”

While the mood this morning was light, Niederauer did make note of this moment in our economy, “You’ve come here at a very exciting time,” and said that it is “unfortunate that the word ‘bailout’ is linked to the rescue package” being hammered out this week in Washington.

Niederauer stressed what many have said in the past two weeks, that “Main Street is linked to Wall Street” and that the proposed legislation is a “first step to solve” the credit crunch that is affecting all businesses.

Panasonic began its renaming celebration in Japan earlier today, where our executive editor Greg Tarr covered the festivities.

Outside the NYSE building on Broad Street today, Panasonic is displaying its 150-inch plasma high-definition display, the world’s largest HD flat-screen TV, in a tent along with other HDTV technologies.

On a personal note, this was the first time this native New Yorker was ever in the boardroom of the NYSE. That’s where Panasonic execs and guests gathered prior to the opening bell. As more than one guest said, “You can feel the history in this room.”

While it was the first time I was in that room, it was the second time I was in the building. Years ago, when I was in high school, for a couple of summers I was a “stock runner” for American Express, carrying hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of securities to financial institutions.

When I was on the job a week or two I was politely told by the part-time “runners” who were all over 65 and semi-retired to “please slow down” because I walked too fast and my speed made them look bad. At the time, the total Dow Jones Industrial Average was around the same amount as how much the market dropped on Monday — in the 700-point neighborhood.

Also, the security on Wall Street and around the block in front of the Exchange building on Broad Street during the early 1970s consisted of a couple of security guards in blue suits.

Not anymore. Today, between security checkpoints, getting into the NYSE building is like getting through airport security.

Back in the 1970s the World Trade Center was new (and only partially opened), the Panasonic brand was up and coming and I was a hell of a lot younger. Time does go by far too quickly.