Panasonic names new president

Japanese electronics giant to promote head of loss-making TV business to lead company, a few weeks after warning of overall US$10 billion loss this year.

Japanese electronics company Panasonic will be replacing its current president with the head of its audio-visual products unit starting June, says company.

In a statement Tuesday, the Japanese electronics company said current president Fumio Ohtsubo will officially become chairman starting Jun. 27 after approval from company's shareholders. The news comes less than a month after the company announced that it expects a 780 billion yen (US$10 billion) in net loss for the fiscal year of 2012.

Replacing Ohtsubo is Kazuhiro Tsuga, currently a senior managing director and president of the audio-visual products unit, according to a Bloomberg report.

According to Reuters, Tsuga in a newsconference said he planned to focus on making the TV unit profitable. "I won't pursue volume, and will prioritize profits. I will consider ways to bring the TV business back to normal within 1-2 years," he said.

The change in leadership at Panasonic follows the footsteps of another Japanese giant, Sony. In early February, Sony announced that its CEO and President Howard Stringer would step down from his two posts to be succeeded by executive deputy president, Kazuo Hirai.

Sony has also forecast a historic loss for its financial year ending Mar. 31. The company together with Panasonic and Sharp are estimated to lose US$17 billion in 2012.

Speaking to Bloomberg, Naoki Fujiwara, fund manager at Shinkin Asset Management, believes that by promoting a younger president Panasonic shows its commitment to "speed up reform, move away from old culture and become competitive again".

He added that the new president will need to "cut down the scale of TV operations and boost profits from energy and smart-house related businesses".