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Ohtsubo Steps Down, TV Operations Stay

Osaka, Japan – Panasonic on Thursday formally proposed to its board that Shusaku Nagae, current president of Eco Solutions, be named the new chairman, replacing Fumio Ohtsubo, who is stepping down ahead of schedule amidst continuing losses, the company said.

 Nagae currently heads Panasonic’s solution business as executive VP in addition to his role as president of Eco Solutions.

The position changes would take effect June 26.

Panasonic said the proposed changes will be submitted for approval at the company’s ordinary general meeting of shareholders and at the subsequent board of directors meeting on June 26.

Ohtsubo was said to be stepping down as chairman ahead of schedule to take responsibility for the company’s continued money-losing position.  

Meanwhile, Panasonic president Kazuhiro Tsuga vowed Thursday to weed out unprofitable operations and focus on boosting earnings, in an effort to turn the business around.

According to reports, Tsuga vowed during a press conference to rid the company of loss-making businesses, but fell short of announcing plans to discontinue its mobile phones or television operations, calling that a “last resort.” Instead he said Panasonic would stop those operations from bleeding red ink.

For this fiscal year ending March, Panasonic estimates an 86 billion yen ($913 million) loss on its TV business.

Under a three-year business plan to March 2016, Panasonic said it is aiming to reach a net profit of at least 50 billion yen ($532 million) in the fiscal year ending March 2014.

Panasonic is also targeting an operating profit of more than 350 billion yen ($3.7 billion) by the fiscal year ending March 2016, compared with a profit of 140 billion yen ($1.4 billion) forecast for the current year.

Panasonic said it has also applied for a delisting of its American Depositary shares from the New York Stock Exchange.

Tsuga reported said during a press conference in Japan that Panasonic is no longer a “normal” company capable of delivering solid returns to shareholders, and pledged to fix that by prioritizing profitability above all else. He pledged to weed out unprofitable businesses not capable of a 5 percent operating profit margin.