Sharp likely to name a company veteran as its new chief: Report

TOKYO (AFP) - Japanese electronics giant Sharp will name a new president at its June shareholders' meeting, replacing its current chief after only a year in the job, the Nikkei business daily said on Monday.

The struggling firm, which last year warned about its own survival, would name company veteran Kozo Takahashi as its new chief, the paper said.

He would replace Mr Takashi Okuda who was set to become chairman, a title that often precedes retirement in big Japanese companies.

Sharp shares jumped 12.44 per cent to 506 yen (S$6.17) by the close.

The volatile stock was driven by an earlier report on Monday, also in the Nikkei, that it planned to cut back on its liquid crystal display television business in Europe and focus instead on higher-growth markets in Asia.

The reports are the latest to underline Sharp's attempts to shake up its business to return to profitability.

Japan's major electronics firms, including Sharp's rivals Sony and Panasonic, have been hammered by credit rating downgrades and record losses, which saw century-old firm Sharp warn last year it may not survive the downturn.

The maker of Aquos-brand electronics, which reports fiscal full-year results on Tuesday, has since said its future was no longer in doubt as it embarks on a painful restructuring including thousands of job cuts and slashing wages from the factory floor to the boardroom.

Last year, Sharp put up its headquarters as collateral to secure desperately needed bank loans. It has inked capital tie-up deals with foreign firms including South Korea's Samsung Electronics and US-based Qualcomm.

Mr Okuda, who became Sharp's president in April last year, would replace chairman Mikio Katayama who is stepping down from the cash-strapped firm, the Nikkei report said.

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