Terry Gou starts Sharp personnel shake up


The China Post news staff

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Hon Hai founder Terry Gou announced on Tuesday that SDP (Sakai Display Products Corp.) Chairman Katsuaki Nomura will become the executive vice president of Sharp Corp., just days after the Taiwanese firm acquired the major Japanese electronics manufacturer. Nomura’s role as executive vice president and head of the accounting and finance group will take effect Wednesday, according to Sharp’s website. Nomura will continue to serve as chairman of the Osaka -based SDP. Meanwhile, SDP president Taimi Okentani will assume the position of executive managing officer of Sharp’s display device division, also effective Wednesday.

The moves are seen as Gou’s swift moves to put his allies in control of his newly acquired firm. Gou bought a 37.6-percent stake in SDP via his own company SIO International Holdings Ltd. in 2012. That deal, worth 66 billion yen, was instrumental in turning a profit for SDP after three years of consecutive losses. Both Nomura and Okentani were seen as likely members to join the board of Sharp due to their ties with Gou. Gou also made moves to stabilize Sharp’s morale, promoting veterans Kazuhiro Moritani from executive officer to executive managing officer of Sharp’s electronic components and devices division, and Masakazu Wada from executive officer of its display division to senior executive vice president.

With Gou holding 66 percent of Sharp’s holdings, Hon Hai is expected to name nine of 13 of Sharp’s board members, allowing it to participate in Sharp’s new board of directors. Gou, currently in Japan following the acquisition of Sharp last week, also spent time during the Tomb Sweeping Day vacation to take in the view of cherry blossoms in Japan’s cultural capital Kyoto where he was reportedly cheered on by the Japanese public who have hopes he can help turn around the tech giant’s fortunes.

In response to the displays of support, Gou told reporters that though he could not communicate in Japanese, he could sense from the hearts of the Japanese people that they had placed high expectations on his future efforts. Gou is expected to fly back to Taiwan Tuesday evening. Hon Hai’s acquisition of Sharp marks the first time in history a major Japanese firm has been purchased by a foreign firm, giving the company a boost in its quest to expand its presence in next generation displays vis-a-vis Korean conglomerates LG and Samsung. The Japanese company has seen financial troubles dating back to 2012, hampering its efforts to expand despite its long held popularity among Japanese consumers.