With the amount of noise generated by Sharp, Panasonic and Sony’s woes, Toshiba has stayed under the radar, however it seems they too have been having a turbulent run up to the new financial year. Apparently Toshiba (if shareholders agree) will be run by a troika from June. The current president Norio Sasaki will become Vice Chairman ( a post that has not existed at Toshiba for 70 years) and the Chairman and previous president Atsutoshi Nishida will continue in his post, responsible for corporate management and chairing the board. Sasaki will focus on external relations.
Normally at Toshiba and elsewhere corporate management and external relations can adequately be done by the Chairman alone, but apparently the frosty relationship between Sasaki and Nishida($) meant that Nishida refused to step down and nominate Sasaki as his successor as Chairman. They compromised on appointing Hisao Tanaka to be the new President, as they both liked him, and his background in procurement (the first President not to come from one of the major business segments) means that he is a neutral party.
Sasaki will have been President for 4 years which is seems to be the standard stint at Toshiba, so no scandal there. He was appointed by Nishida, but apparently rarely consulted him and disappointed Nishida by focusing on profitability, rather than growth, unloading unprofitable businesses and focusing on infrastructure business.
Nishida made some pointed remarks about Sasaki having a narrow, domestic background in the nuclear power business, which Sasaki rebuffed by pointing out that Nishida has mainly only worked in the PC side of Toshiba.
Tanaka has worked abroad for 14 years including TV manufacturing in the UK and a stint in the Philippines and the US. Hopefully this has given him the diplomatic skills to manage what sound like two very difficult sempai.
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