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President Sanyo Steps Down Amid Accounting Scandal

Sanyo President Toshimasa Iue will step down next week, the company announced Wednesday amid an accounting scandal at the troubled electronics company that has also claimed the job of its chairwoman.

Iue, grandson of Sanyo Electric's founder, will be replaced by current Vice President Seiichiro Sano, the company said in a release. Sano will begin his new job on April 2, and Iue will stay on as a company director.

Osaka-based Sanyo said the shuffle was part of the company's "ongoing structural transformation." It was widely seen, however, as part of a management upheaval stemming from poor earnings and accusations of window-dressed balance sheets.

"We will push forward as a company in unison, and we will continue to pursue our restructuring efforts," Sano said in the statement.

Local media reports have said Sanyo wrote off losses of 190 billion yen ($1.62 billion) at its subsidiaries in 2003, but reported the losses as 50 billion yen ($427 million).

Sano, 54, has been with the company for 30 years. His promotion marks the first time someone outside the Iue family has led Sanyo, either as president or chairman, since it started business in 1947, Kyodo News agency said.

The management change was approved Wednesday at a board meeting, Sanyo said.

On March 19, Chairwoman Tomoyo Nonaka resigned, citing personal reasons.

But local news reports said she had butted heads with other executives over how to deal with the accounting scandal. She was appointed in 2005 and was charged with helping Sanyo revive its brand image and bolster earnings.

Over the past several years, Sanyo has been struggling to turn around its business by trimming jobs, reducing factory space and dropping some businesses under a restructuring plan announced in 2004.

Like other Japanese electronics makers, Sanyo has been battered in recent years by competition from cheaper Asian rivals. Its performance was also hurt by a 2004 earthquake near its chip-making plant.

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