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Panasonic Names Woman To Board

OSAKA, JAPAN – In another effort to slash expenses and maintain a recent profit, Panasonic recently trimmed its board of executive officers and in the process appointed the first female member in the company’s 95-year history.

Hiroko Ota, a former economic and fiscal policy minister now teaching at Tokyo’s National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies, was named to Panasonic’s executive board.

At the same time, the company said in a statement it has eliminated nine executive officers, dropping the board from 30 to 21. Some are retiring without being replaced.

President Kazuhiro Tsuga, 56, is in the process of preparing a revival plan for the company as it prepares for an estimated fourth annual loss in five years.

Panasonic posted a 772 billion yen ($8.4 billion) net loss for the year, ended March 2012. Panasonic reported a profit last quarter after eliminating 13,000 jobs.

Retiring executive officers include Shiro Kitajima, president of a North American marketing unit, whose duties will be added to those of Panasonic North American CEO Joseph Taylor.

According to reports, Tsuga is expected to shortly announce a new medium- term plan that could place greater emphasis on divisions offering the highest profit margins, such as beauty products, while decreasing reliance on lower-margin products such as TVs.