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Sumner Named New Yamaha U.S. President

Yamaha veteran Tom Sumner became Yamaha Electronics Corp. president, effective April 2, replacing Hogan Osawa.

Sumner is the first American president of Yamaha Electronics since Don Palmquist left the company in 1992.

For the past 19 years, Sumner has been with sister company Yamaha Corp. of America (YCA), the U.S. marketer of musical instruments and pro audio. He was previously VP/GM of YCA’s pro audio and combo division. YCA and Yamaha Electronics are both wholly owned subsidiaries of Yamaha Corp. in Japan, a spokeswoman said.

Osawa, who was Yamaha Electronics president since December 2003, was appointed president of YCA, where Sumner was also named corporate VP.

Sumner said Osawa did a “great job focusing on sell-through” at retail via more advertising and more sales training and that the company maintained number one dollar share in home theater receivers for several years through 2006 under Osawa’s guidance.

As for Yamaha’s future, Sumner said he hasn’t yet formulated any new programs and, if he should make changes, won’t have a strategy developed for at least another 60 days. He didn’t say whether that strategy would include any more distribution changes following the company’s expansion last year into RadioShack with an HTiB and powered subwoofer, last fall’s entry into Best Buy-located Magnolia Home Theater stores with a pair of A/V receivers priced at $1,000 and up, or the elimination last month of a derivative line of less-than-$1,000 A/V receivers for Best Buy’s main sales floor. Best Buy and A/V specialists now offer the same RXV series receivers, whereas Best Buy previously offered the derivative HTR series.

Whatever plans unfold, Yamaha will “try to maintain relations” with A/V specialists, Sumner said.

Osawa said he was “proud of our performance during this past fiscal year” during a time in which the industry “has undergone significant changes.”

Sumner joined YCA in 1988 as national account manager for the consumer products division. Before joining Yamaha, Sumner was a consumer electronics buyer for Macy’s California.