Hitachi Splits Businesses, Names New President

The Tokyo-based company's board of directors voted to split off Hitachi's Automotive Systems Group and Consumer Business Group. The separation is slated for July 1.

Takashi Kawamura has been tapped as the company's new president, CEO and chairman, effective April 1. He is currently the chairman of Hitachi Plant Technologies and Hitachi Maxwell. Kazuo Furukawa, the current president and CEO, has been named as a vice chairman, and chairman Etsuhiko Shoyama will become a director.

Hitachi said the steps were taken because it believes that revenue expansion is "unlikely for the foreseeable future because of falling demand in both BtoB and BtoC sectors amid protracted worldwide economic stagnation," according to a statement.

The Consumer Business Group will manufacture and sell flat-panel TVs for commercial-use LCD projectors as well as for the domestic market.

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Last week, Hitachi made headlines after pleading guilty to participating in a conspiracy to fix the prices of Thin Film Transistor-Liquid Crystal Display (TFT-LCD) panels sold to Dell for use in desktop monitors and notebook computers from April 1, 2001, through March 31, 2004. In a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice, Hitachi agreed to pay a $31 million fine.