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Matsushita Elec. names Ohtsubo as new president

By Staff
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OSAKA, Feb 23 (Reuters) Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. said on Thursday that Senior Managing Director Fumio Ohtsubo, 60, will be its next president and current president Kunio Nakamura will become chairman, effective in June.

The move comes after Matsushita, the world's largest consumer electronics maker, posted its highest quarterly profit in 14 years earlier this month and raised its full-year outlook, citing strong sales of chips, digital cameras and plasma TVs.

Osaka-based Matsushita said current chairman Yoichi Morishita will become an adviser. The changes are subject to approval at its board meeting and annual shareholders meeting on June 28.

Matsushita is considered one of Japan's strongest electronics firms, having finished major restructuring in the past business year under the strong leadership of Nakamura, 66.

In contrast, rivals Sanyo Electric Co. and Pioneer Corp. are losing money and have started a fresh round of plant closures and heavy job cuts.

Ohtsubo, who has dealt with development and production of audio equipment, lived in Singapore before being promoted to director in 1998. Since then he has been overseeing the company's key audio visual equipment segment, especially its fast growing plasma TVs operation.

''Ohtsubo has faithfully executed Nakamura's strategy and will likely continue to do so,'' said an industry source who knows Ohtsubo, describing him as well-liked and respected within the company.

The source said Otsuba is not a risk-taker, however.

Rival electronics firm Mitsubishi Electric Corp. on Thursday named Executive Vice President Setsuhiro Shimomura, 60, as new president and chief executive officer (CEO), effective on April 1. Shimomura will replace current president Tamotsu Nomakuchi, 65, who will become chairman.

Shimomura told a news conference in Tokyo he would aim to enhance the electronics maker's competitiveness in the social infrastructure, electric power and mobile phones businesses.

Ahead of the announcement, shares in Matsushita Electric closed up 2.67 percent at 2,495 yen, compared with a 1.99 per cent rise in the benchmark Nikkei average Mitsubishi Electric stock gained 5.35 per cent to 925 yen.

(=118.44 Yen) REUTERS SD RK1815

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