Hitachi posts $4.1 billion quarterly loss

Japanese electronics giant Hitachi today announced a third-quarter loss of more than $4 billion and declared a reshuffling of its executive leadership.The company also reaffirmed a forecast for a $7.

Japanese electronics giant Hitachi today announced a third-quarter loss of more than $4 billion and declared a reshuffling of its executive leadership.

The company also reaffirmed a forecast for a $7.8 billion annual loss -- which would be the biggest ever by a Japanese manufacturer.

Hitachi's loss of $4.078 billion for the three months ending December 31 came as the global economy slammed on the brakes and exports fell. During the previous six months, from April to September, the company made a modest $156 million.

The company will also be reshuffling its leadership. When Hitachi's new fiscal year starts on April 1, just 12 of its 30 executive officers will be in the same positions they held the previous year. Kazuo Furukawa will remain as CEO and president, but seven of the executive officers will be new.  Six will have resigned. The remaining officers will have been promoted or shuffled to new jobs.

Last week, Hitachi cited slumping profits for cutting 7,000 jobs worldwide in its automobile and TV-related businesses.

Four thousand will come from the auto unit and 3,000 from the television departments, said Hiroki Inoue, a company spokesman.

The global recession is choking most of Hitachi's operations: slumping car sales are hurting its auto parts business and its flat-TV division is reeling from steep price falls in a fiercely competitive market. Worst is its 55 percent-owned semiconductor affiliate Renesas Technology, which has been pounded by poor demand for chips used in cars, TVs, cameras and hard drives.