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Reports: Sharp To Name New President, Ax 5,000

Tokyo — As its next financial report draws closer, Sharp Corp. is reportedly planning to promote executive VP Kozo Takahashi to president, replacing Takashi Okuda, who is to become the new chairman, according to a Nikkei news report Monday.

Meanwhile, another report in the Asahi Shimbun on Friday said Sharp is also planning to cut 5,000 employees as part of a three-year restructuring plan.

Most of the layoffs are expected to come from China and Malaysia, and the employee head count at the company’s main office in Osaka will be reduced by 50 percent, the report said.

Sharp will also reportedly cut its directors from 12 to six, and reduce its corporate advisers as well.

Sharp currently employs 51,000 people worldwide.

Both reported moves come before Sharp releases the results of its 2012 fiscal year.

According to the Nikkei report, Okuda, who was named president in April 2012, is to replace Mikio Katayama as chairman. The Japanese company did not issue the information and has not confirmed it at press time.

Okuda led a rescue effort that has included mortgaging the company’s headquarters to raise funds to cover losses from the LCD businesses. That, in part, caused Sharp to a record 376 billion yen ($3.7 billion) net loss for the fiscal year, ended March 2012.

Takahashi currently leads Sharp’s products business group, which includes TV sets and mobile phones. He joined the company in 1980 and has led the company’s health and environmental products division and, prior to that, Sharp Electronics in the United States.

Sharp is scheduled to report earnings Tuesday for the year, ended March 31. The company has forecast a record loss of 450 billion yen.

Sharp has 200 billion yen of convertible bonds due this year and 360 billion yen of loans due June 30. It has been selling assets and seeking investments from rivals as its debt payments loom.