Tokyo: Japanese electronics conglomerate Toshiba Corp said it would seek shareholder approval to appoint vice president Norio Sasaki as its new chief executive in June, looking to change management as it heads for a record annual loss.
Current chief executive Atsutoshi Nishida will become chairman, and chairman Tadashi Okamura will become an adviser.
The management shuffle came just two days after rival Hitachi Ltd named 69-year-old power business veteran Takashi Kawamura as its new CEO from April to take on the job of restructuring its sprawling operations.
Sasaki, 59, has a long background in Toshiba’s nuclear power business, which remains relatively healthy. The company’s other operations, mainly its main chip business, have been hit hard by weak demand and falling prices.
Sasaki also led Toshiba’s purchase of US nuclear power firm Westinghouse in 2006.
CEO Nishida explained the move as an attempt to assign a single leader to see the company through its restructuring, recovery and subsequent growth phases from start to finish.
Toshiba has forecast a 280 billion yen loss for the year ending this month and has mapped out a 300 billion yen ($3.1 billion) cost-cutting plan for next business year by slashing capital spending and contract jobs.
“I don’t think this means that top management is taking responsibility for the poor performance because it happened when the company was already carefully picking and choosing how to use its resources,” said Tomomi Yamashita, senior fund manager at Shinkin Asset Management.
“It’s not as if Toshiba plunged into the red when everyone else was doing well,” he said, adding that he expected little impact on its share price.
Toshiba shares closed up 0.4% at 258 yen before the announcement. The Nikkei average ended up 0.3%.