Another foreign chief executive leaves Japan Inc

21-Apr-2012 Intellasia | AFP | 7:05 AM Print This Post

The American head of Japanese glass firm has quit over what the company said Wednesday were “fundamental disagreements” about corporate strategy, the latest foreign boss to leave Japan Inc.

Nippon Sheet Glass said Craig Naylor, its president and chief executive, had stepped down amid efforts to turn around the company, which was expecting a $36.8 million loss in the year ended March.

“Craig Naylor’s decision to tender his resignation reflected fundamental disagreements with the board on company strategy,” NSG group Chair Katsuji Fujimoto said in a statement, without elaborating.

Calling the decision “regrettable”, Fujimoto added that “our priority now is to concentrate on the future development of the company”.

Nippon Sheet Glass said Craig Naylor, its president and chief executive, had stepped down (AFP/File, Kazuhiro Nogi)

In 2009, Briton Stuart Chambers resigned from the Japanese firm, one of the world’s biggest glass makers, citing personal reasons.

Naylor’s departure comes after Olympus chief Michael Woodford grabbed international headlines when he exposed a $1.7 billion loss cover-up at the camera and medical equipment maker shortly after he was sacked in October.

Earlier this year, Sony dumped its Welsh-born US leader Howard Stringer amid efforts to stem record losses at the iconic Japanese electronics giant.

The departures leave just a handful of foreign chief executives in charge of Japanese companies, including Nissan’s head Carlos Ghosn.

Naylor was replaced by Nippon vice-president Keiji Yoshikawa, while German Clemens Miller would become chief operating officer with chief financial officer Mark Lyons staying on in his position, it said.

In February, the company said it expected a net loss of 3.0 billion yen ($37.0 million) for the year to March, a drastic reversal of an earlier projection for a net profit of 14.0 billion yen in the same period.

The Japanese firm, which owns British glass manufacturer Pilkington, also announced 3,500 job cuts as part of efforts to stem the losses.

Credit ratings agencies have downgraded Nippon Sheet Glass while investors hammered its share price.

Naylor, a former executive at DuPont and Delphi Corp., was hired in 2010, and led the firm to a net profit of 1.66 billion yen for the year to March 2011, after two consecutive years of losses.

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