Toshiba has revealed a massive reorganisation of its worldwide operations in the face of falling profit and the continuing Asian economic crisis.
The vendor's 15 business groups have been reduced to eight companies boasting more autonomy and with full responsibility for development and financial performance. Toshiba's PC and notebook business will now make up part of the Digital Media Equipment & Services Company, along with other digital products such as TVs and DVD drives.
In addition to the structural changes, Toshiba's board of directors has been slashed from 33 to 12, and the headcount at its corporate HQ will be reduced from 700 to 300. No UK job cuts are expected.
The overhaul comes in response to Toshiba's poor performance forecasts for 1998 in which 1997's profits of Y12 billion will be replaced by a net loss of Y20 billion - the company's first loss in 23 years.
Speaking exclusively to PC Dealer, Alan Thompson, director of the UK PC business at Toshiba, said: 'This needed to be done. It's long overdue.
The old Toshiba corporation had a huge dependency on the domestic market, but with a lot of overseas activities. However, the Digital Media business is very much global in its activities.'
Toshiba's performance in the notebook sector suffered last year through a combination of low-cost rivals and delivery problems, but Thompson was convinced the Digital Media unit will help it compete more effectively.
'I expect our speed of response (to market changes) to improve and our channel should benefit from this.'
Thompson speculated there could be some pressure to 'harmonise our channels' in Europe, but claimed there are no immediate changes planned to the UK setup.
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