Wed, Jun 24, 2015 - Page 14 News List

Sharp CEO faces resignation calls


Sharp Corp chief executive Kozo Takahashi faced calls for his resignation at the struggling Japanese television and display maker’s annual general meeting yesterday.

“Letting the president stay is unacceptable,” one shareholder said at the meeting in Osaka, without giving his name. “I couldn’t have even dreamed that something like this would be happening. My retirement money is all gone.”

Shareholders approved Takahashi as chief executive in a vote at the meeting.

Takahashi defended the restructuring plans for the company, which has lost about US$4.3 billion in market value since he took over in June 2013. Sharp announced job cuts and a reorganization last month and is struggling under debt that mounted after lower-cost rivals in South Korea and China undercut its core business making liquid-crystal-display TVs.

“These words from shareholders have deeply touched me,” Takahashi said at the meeting, his voice cracking with emotion. “We absolutely must become a company that has value in this world.”

Takahashi also said he would accept a 70 percent wage cut in the third quarter, widening his pay reduction from the 55 percent cut he had previously taken.

Sharp shares fell 1.8 percent to ¥163 as of the close of trading in Tokyo yesterday. The stock is down 39 percent this year.

Sharp plans to pare its workforce 10 percent after taking another lifeline from lenders. The company has lost about US$13 billion in the past four fiscal years, was on the brink of bankruptcy, and now is selling its headquarters and shrinking its solar business.

The percentage of shareholders voting for and against keeping Takahashi as chief executive was not announced at the meeting and will be available in two days, company spokesman Heihachiro Ochiai said.

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