OSAKA – Electronics maker Sharp Corp., currently undergoing restructuring in a buy-out by Taiwan’s Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., is looking to appoint a close aide of Hon Hai’s chief as its new president, sources close to the matter said Thursday.
Tai Jeng-wu is vice chairman of Hon Hai, also known as Foxconn, and No. 2 to Chairman Terry Gou. He is the likely candidate to replace Kozo Takahashi as the Osaka-based firm undergoes surgery related to the takeover agreed last month.
Tai will be the first leader to be chosen outside Sharp since the company’s founding.
Sharp is expected to approve Tai’s appointment as chairman at its general shareholders’ meeting in late June. He will assume the post after the takeover proceedings are complete, the sources said. Until then, Takahashi will stay on as president.
Under Tai’s leadership, Sharp will aim to implement drastic restructuring including job cuts and withdrawing from money-losing businesses.
Sharp, a century-old brand, has been stung by losses at its core liquid crystal display business, partly because prices have dropped in fierce competition with foreign rivals and sales of Apple Inc.’s iPhone have been slowing.
Under the takeover deal, which marked the first acquisition of a major Japanese electronics maker by a foreign company, Hon Hai will pay ¥388.8 billion for a 66 percent stake in Sharp.
As Hon Hai can name two-thirds of Sharp’s board members, several more people close to Gou are likely to be appointed, the sources said.
After joining Hon Hai, Tai, who is fluent in Japanese and familiar with Japanese business customs, handled transactions with Japanese businesses such as Sony Corp. He also played a crucial role in the latest negotiations with Sharp.
Later Thursday, Sharp is scheduled to release its earnings reports for fiscal 2015, which will likely to show the firm remains in the red for the second straight year.