| Digital Japan President Resigns Suddenly
March 4, 1998(Tokyo) - Kuniaki Watanabe, president of Digital Equipment
Corp. Japan, resigned suddenly and executive vice president Toshio Ueda
took his place on March 1.
|During a press conference Feb. 26, a company spokesman said Watanabe
will assume a post of adviser after passing on the presidency to Ueda
and officially leaving the company.
During the press conference to announce his replacement, Watanabe said
he has worked for Digital Japan for about three years. "I would like to
tackle a new job from a different angle now," he said. However, he did
not reveal detailed reasons for his resignation nor plans for the
On Feb. 12, Watanabe conveyed his intention to resign to the firm's U.S.
parent company, Digital Equipment Corp. Even though he reportedly was
once dissuaded from resigning, his decision was accepted on Feb. 16.
The resignation was officially decided in the Japanese subsidiary's
board meeting held Feb. 25, only two weeks after Watanabe disclosed his
intention to resign.
Although incoming president Ueda pledged to make full use of Watanabe's
ideas for future business, Ueda did not disclose detailed plans for a
new organization or a business plan. He said his promotion was decided
at the last minute.
Succeeding former president Yoji Hamawaki, Watanabe drastically
restructured the firm's management. Thanks to his restructuring efforts,
the computer maker saw earnings for fiscal 1997 ended June 1997 rise
10.5 percent year-on-year and pretax profit of 509 million yen (US$4.07
million), which returned the company into the black.
He also implemented transparent, sound management by disclosing the
company's financial results, which were not announced previously. In
October 1997, Watanabe also unveiled a three-year, mid-term plan
formulated mainly by himself. He has been pointed to as a key player in
restructuring the troubled company.
Observers speculate that the merger plan of Digital and Compaq Computer
Corp. of the United States may be behind the sudden resignation.
Watanabe denied the relationship between his resignation and the merger
plan, commenting that his decision was not directly influenced by the
prospect of becoming or not becoming president of a new company to be
set up after the merger.
New president Ueda is 53 year old. After serving at NEC Corp., he was
employed in 1974 by Digital Equipment Corp. International Japan, a
forerunner of the current Digital Japan. He was appointed executive vice
president in January 1998.
Effective April 1, Digital Japan will be promoted to report its business
plans and accomplishments directly to the U.S. headquarters.
Digital Japan has been reporting to the United States via a local
subsidiary in Singapore that supervises the Asia Pacific region. In and
after April, the company will make direct reports to the U.S.
headquarters, hopefully enabling prompt decision-making.
(Hi-Tech News Center)
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