Nikkei is reporting that Mikio Katayama will step down as Sharp president, following a projected record loss of $3.5 billion for the 2011 fiscal year. The new president is set to be Takashi Okuda, 58, who previously served as a managing executive and handled global operations within the firm. Katayama will become the company's chairman. Okuda said "It is my aim to unite the company and revive our fortunes by changing our business model. We have a lot of unique technology, and the ability to produce one-of-a-kind products is in our genes. If we give it our all, we still have a chance."
Like other Japanese TV manufacturers, the company has had a tough time of late with the strong yen, high domestic production costs, and competition from foreign companies like Samsung proving to be a challenge. Sharp recently cut LCD TV production at an Osaka plant by half in response to low demand. The installation of Okuda at the top follows Sony's attempt to deal with similar woes by replacing Howard Stringer with Kaz Hirai as president. Shares in Sharp rose four percent earlier today on speculation over the management change.