- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 18, 2009

TOKYO (AP) - Toshiba Corp. said Wednesday it has named a new president, joining a string of other Japanese companies in shuffling management amid a crippling recession.

The Japanese electronics company said its board of directors nominated Corporate Senior Executive Vice President Norio Sasaki, an expert in nuclear energy, as new president and chief executive officer.

Sasaki, 59, will officially replace Atsutoshi Nishida in June after approval at the shareholders meeting, Toshiba said in a statement.

The decision by the board of directors was based on a recommendation submitted by Nishida, 65, who will become chairman, the company said.

Nishida, who became president in 2005, and Sasaki played major roles in the purchase of leading U.S. nuclear power company Westinghouse Electric Co. in 2006. Interest in nuclear power has been growing because of concerns about global warming and efforts to reduce dependence on oil.

The move follows similar management changes at other major Japanese corporations, including Toyota Motor Corp., Honda Motor Co. and Hitachi Ltd.

Toshiba apparently is trying to show its determination to turn around the company amid the global economic crisis through the appointment of Sasaki, who has managed operations of heavy electric machinery, including nuclear power generation and its equipment.

The company sank into the red in the third quarter and projected a net loss for the full year, citing declining demand for its flash memory chips used to store data in consumer gadgets like music players and digital cameras.

Toshiba has announced a turnaround plan that includes cutting 4,500 contract workers and delaying or canceling investments in new chip plants.

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