i3 - January/February 2018 - 8

Tech

By Cindy Loffler Stevens

I N N OVATO R

Panasonic,
Leading Change

F

rom its origins as a humble bike lamp maker
to its current focus on automobiles, datastorage devices, in-flight entertainment systems
and much more, - Panasonic continues to
evolve as a global technology leader. This year
the company is celebrating 100 years in business.
It also shares the distinction of being one of
only two companies that have exhibited at every CES
since 1967 (the other is VOXX).
In the past, Panasonic's iconic plasma TVs once covered its
CES booth. Today Panasonic's efforts extend to smart homes
and self-driving cars and even smart cities. With the tagline,
"A Better Life, A Better World," Panasonic seeks to make life
simpler, smarter, safer, more captivating and more fun.
Leading this more nimble company is R&D engineer
Kazuhiro Tsuga who joined Panasonic as a college recruit
38 years ago and took the helm as president in 2012.
He has since reorganized the company's many divisions.
The task was to reimagine the company's DNA, which
included some painful decisions to stop making plasma TVs,
smartphones, optical disks and circuit boards. The company
now provides the batteries that power Tesla cars, is developing smart cities, and even sells storage devices developed
in collaboration with Facebook to hold large amounts of
data, with "freeze-ray" technology.
And last April, Tom Gebhardt, a 32-year veteran of the company, left his role as president of Panasonic Automotive
Systems Company of America to take over the reins as
Chairman and CEO of Panasonic Corporation of North
America. Based in Newark, NJ, the business is focusing on
Panasonic's B2B and Smart City initiatives, which demonstrate how public-private partnerships can help improve the
quality of life for residents.
The company is the principal North American subsidiary of
Osaka, Japan-based Panasonic Corporation and the hub of
Panasonic's U.S. branding, marketing, sales, service and R&D
operations. Panasonic was featured in Forbes Magazine's 2000
ranking as one of the ten best regarded companies for 2017.
Specifically cited were its smart and sustainable technologies,
including its contributions to smart cities and the electric
vehicle revolution.
Tsuga and Gebhardt spoke with i3 about how the company plans to celebrate its milestone anniversary and where
the opportunities are going forward.

8

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2018

Panasonic Corp.
President and CEO
Kazuhiro Tsuga
Q Panasonic seems to
prosper by reinventing itself.
What were the major turning
points and new directions?
A When I became president
in 2012, our company was
suffering from a lot of
difficulties, including a huge
loss that exceeded ¥700
billion. I started by making
group-wide management
transparent as a way to clarify
the cause of this deficit.
Then, we took up the necessary initiatives, including
structural reform, to address
the issues. We also worked to
transform the shape of the
company by streamlining our
headquarters as well as
introducing company and

business division systems,
for instance. Also, with the
aim of accelerating growth,
in addition to our traditional
consumer electronics
business, we clarified three
other main business pillars:
housing, automotive, and B2B.
From a regional perspective,
we allocated our resources to
businesses with growth
potential in those key areas.
We were also determined to
invest 1 trillion in strategic
businesses by 2019, and have
already been investing in M&A
and in such key businesses
like automotive batteries.
Through these efforts, we
expect both sales and profit
to grow in this fiscal year.
I T I S I N N O VAT I O N



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of i3 - January/February 2018

Contents
i3 - January/February 2018 - Cover1
i3 - January/February 2018 - Cover2
i3 - January/February 2018 - Contents
i3 - January/February 2018 - 2
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i3 - January/February 2018 - Cover3
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