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Canon names digital camera veteran Maeda as next president

Kyodo

Canon Inc. on Wednesday named Senior Managing Director Masaya Maeda as the successor to President Fujio Mitarai, who will remain chairman and chief executive officer. Maeda will become president in March.

Mitarai, 80, told a news conference in Tokyo that Maeda was chosen because of his efforts to position Canon at the top of the digital camera market.

“As a digital leader, (Maeda) was one step ahead in advancing the digitalization of cameras,” Mitarai said.

Maeda, 63, said he felt the weight of his upcoming responsibility and vowed to strengthen each of Canon’s businesses.

Threats to Canon’s continued growth include China’s economic slowdown and consumers’ increasing use of smartphones to take photos.

Mitarai became company president in 1995, and was reappointed in March 2012. During his tenure, Canon withdrew from its loss-making personal computer business and focused on digital cameras, leaving the firm in good standing worldwide.

Mitarai became chairman in 2006. He simultaneously headed the nation’s biggest business lobby, Japan Business Federation, or Keidanren, between 2006 and 2010.

Maeda formerly led Canon’s camera division, where he worked to improve production efficiency and expand sales.

Canon has long focused on household devices, such as cameras and printers, but it now plans to take a broader business focus. It will target corporate clients by strengthening its printing and surveillance camera businesses.

After the leadership change takes place on March 30, Maeda is expected to concentrate on each of Canon’s business units, while Mitarai will handle human resources and other administrative units.