Mitarai to return as Canon’s president in March

Kyodo

Canon Inc. Chairman Fujio Mitarai will return to the presidency on March 29 to lead the company through 2015 as Europe’s debt problems generate increasing uncertainty, Canon said Monday.

Mitarai, 76, who was president from 1995 to 2006, will double as chairman while President Tsuneji Uchida, 70, becomes an adviser, the maker of printers and cameras said, adding Uchida expressed a “strong desire” to step down after finishing one stage of his work.

Mitarai built the company’s mainstay camera and printer businesses by concentrating business resources on them.

“It is safer to bring together veterans who know their job, rather than hurry to bring about a generation change when prospects are very uncertain,” Executive Vice President Toshizo Tanaka said in Tokyo.

Mitarai also chaired the Japan Business Federation, the nation’s most influential business lobby, from 2006 to 2010.

Canon, which just launched a five-year business plan, aims to install a new president by 2016 so it can proceed to its next phase, Tanaka said.

Tanaka said Canon’s biggest concern is the European debt crisis, which will take “considerable time” to resolve.

Europe is Canon’s biggest market, accounting for just over 30 percent of consolidated sales.