Pristine Scenery

It has been decided that the next president of Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. will be Senior Managing Director Fumio Ohtsubo. At the same time, Mr. Shunzo Ushimaru, who is familiar to readers of this magazine as the head of marketing for Panasonic products, will be promoted to senior managing director.

I am especially moved by the appointments of these two persons, with whom I am on friendly terms. Considering the roles they have played so far, however, they are quite natural developments. Rather, with the appointment of the Ohtsubo-Ushimaru team, I am really looking forward to Matsushita痴 growth track toward the year 2010. Without doubt, the target of 10% growth in operating profit will be achieved. We are likely going to see a series of offensive strategies and surprise after surprise.

Two weeks after the press conference announcing Mr. Ohtsubo痴 appointment as president, a startling piece of news made the rounds. It had been declared that President Kunio Nakamura痴 stated goal of \5,000 per inch for thin TV sets by 2008 would be realized by the middle of 2007. When the target year of 2008 was announced, naturally I thought that maybe Matsushita had its eyes on the 2007 year-end sales battle, but the announcement that the target was bring brought forward even more really did surprise me. It showed that the intentions of the new president, Mr. Ohtsubo, were already being reflected. No doubt many people in the industry were impressed by the strategy.

I first met Mr. Ohtsubo when he was appointed head of the audio division, and we have been friends ever since. At that time the management of Matsushita痴 audio division was completely in the doldrums, and that was when the young division head appeared on the scene. Really there was a sense of, well, let痴 see what he can do. I think that in Matsushita痴 overweight organization, the minds of people had become rigid, and young people had lost the desire for promotion. This environment was stifling management.

Surprisingly, for administrators and above, Mr. Ohtsubo began by calling on other business divisions and related companies and making them reshuffle their lineups. Usually you retain human resources that you think are good, but Mr. Ohtsubo openly put all administrative posts on the chopping board and asked them to go scouting. Naturally he took the most outstanding human resources available. Next, Mr. Ohtsubo boldly implemented a grand selection of young executives. These talented young people worked hard and vigorously, and in no time the division had recovered. A lighter organization and youthful and magnanimous atmosphere were built, and a series of strong product releases began.

The awesomeness of Mr. Ohtsubo痴 methods was input into the back of my mind from that time, and it is no exaggeration to say that since then it has been a case of trying to keep up with his activities. I was sure that he would become president some day, and other people in the industry were saying the same thing from quite some time ago. We could see Ohtsubo-ism in the 菟ristine scenery of President Nakamura痴 電estruction and creativity approach.

News of Mr. Ohtsubo痴 appointment as president was transmitted around the world, and on Yahoo there was a link to an interview with Mr. Ohtsubo that this magazine carried in its New Year edition of 2004, which attracted a lot of attention. In that interview, I asked about the 菟ristine scenery aspect of Ohtsubo-ism. Mr. Ohtsubo denied its existence, but there was a smile on his face.

As for Mr. Ushimaru, his tremendous marketing capability made a strong impact on me the first time we met. He is really faithful to his word and, more than anything else, cheerful, and he has displayed forceful leadership.

I very much look forward to the achievements of this pair.