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MECA, Parent Co. Of Panasonic, Lays Off 360 Workers In 3 Groups

Matsushita Electric Corp. of America (MECA), marketers of the Panasonic and Quasar brands, has laid off 360 employees in its Consumer, Industrial and Systems groups.

The layoffs affect employees involved in sales and service operations for the three groups, 60 of which are from company headquarters, here, and another 100 or so who work at the Glen Burnie, Md., inventory and logistical facility, which will be closed. Layoffs for employees will begin now and continue through the end of the fiscal year, with individual departure dates depending upon “the needs of the business,” a MECA spokesperson said. MECA currently employs 4,500.

The layoffs are in addition to the more than 400 employees who accepted buyouts in a “voluntary resignation program” that began last fall and continued through Dec. 31, 2001. Of those 400, 150 took early retirement.

The layoffs were put in place due to “standard business practices, reduce redundancies and reassign certain personnel,” according to the company.

These layoffs come after the departure of two longtime Panasonic executives last December: Bill Mannion, former VP/general manager of Panasonic TV and Network Systems Division, who joined Microsoft, and Jonas Tanenbaum, national marketing manager for the same division, who left to join Samsung. (See TWICE, Jan. 8, 2002, p. 12.)

And the layoffs also come after Panasonic’s CES announcement that its consumer sales operation has been consolidated, with senior VP Fred Towns overseeing all operations. Nine of Panasonic Consumer Electronics sales operations are being consolidated as of April 1 into four operations. (TWICE, Jan. 14, 2002, p. 18.)