Will Omron's chairman be able to save deeply troubled Renesas? That's the $64 billion question swirling around Tokyo.
Unlike Inamori, who founded Kyocera, Sakuta is no Omron founder. Kazuma
Tateishi, Omron’s legendary founder, started the company 80 years ago.
Omron had been run by members of the founding Tateishi family for
decades, Sakuta, back in 2003, became the first Omron president from
outside its founding family. Sakuta is known to have led Omron to its
successful business in auto-related electronics parts.
The timing of Sakuta’s appointment has struck some Renesas watchers as suspicious.
it’s far too early to question Sakuta’s ability to pull Renesas out of
the hole, a general sense of wariness is timely. The industry was
expecting word from the Innovation Network Corporation of Japan (INCJ),
sometime in June, 2013, about their choice of a fresh name for Renesas
INCJ, a government-backed private equity fund in Japan, has
committed to a two-thirds stake in the chip maker, part of Renesas’
plans to shore up its capital base through a 150 billion yen share
issuance to INCJ and other investors by the end of September.
an executive from yet another successful Kansai-based company strikes
many industry observers as too easy, too predictable and too
Clearly, Omron’s Sakuta is no Carlos Ghosn, savior of Nissan.
U.S. executive who spoke on condition of anonymity said, “This has the
fingerprints of Japanese bureaucrats all over it.” Although the INCJ is
supervised by Japan’s Ministry of Economic, Trade and Industry of Japan
(METI), some U.S. business executives hold high hopes for the private
equity fund. They view the INCJ as no ordinary Japanese financial
institution or bureaucracy bloated with over-the-hill civil servants.
Instead, it consists of a team of young Japanese MBA types -- many
graduates of MIT and business schools in the United States.
turns out, said the aforementioned U.S. executive, that the only
commonality between Kyocera and Omron is that they are both Kansai-based
companies. “There is nothing else in common. It just so happens that
picking up a turnaround specialist from a Kansai-based company is such a
fashionable thing to do now in Japan.”
Tetsuya Tsurumaru, who
assumed the presidency at Renesas in February on an interim basis, will
retain his post, according to Renesas. The suspense, however, will
continue to build as to how the rest of the management team will shape
Renesas announced earlier this month that the new member of
the board will be officially appointed as a representative director at a
meeting of the board of directors after the ordinary general meeting of shareholders scheduled in June. Other executive personnel changes will
be announced soon after decided, the company said.