National | OBITUARY

Ex-Toshiba President Nishida, who played key role in success of Dynabook notebook computers, dies at age 73

JIJI

Former Toshiba Corp. President and Chairman Atsutoshi Nishida died of acute cardiac infarction at Toshiba General Hospital in Tokyo on Friday afternoon. He was 73.

Nishida joined Toshiba in 1975 and held executive posts at European and U.S. units, before becoming head of the parent company’s personal computer business in 1995.

Nishida played a key role in making Toshiba’s Dynabook notebook PCs the world’s top brand. He also maintained friendly ties with Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates.

In June 2005, he became president of Toshiba. He took proactive steps to expand the electronics and heavy machinery giant, including the acquisition of U.S. nuclear plant giant Westinghouse Electric Co. and massive investment in semiconductor operations.

He resigned after Toshiba incurred heavy losses in the year ended in March 2009 due to the global economic downturn triggered by the collapse of U.S. investment bank Lehman Brothers in September 2008.

Nishida, also former vice chair of the Japan Business Federation, or Keidanren, was among the former presidents now blamed for large-scale accounting fraud that came to light in 2015. In the scandal, Toshiba was found to have padded profits by hundreds of billions of yen.

He gave up the post of adviser following criticism that he had pressured junior officials to achieve profit targets.

The development was followed by the collapse of Westinghouse in March this year.

Some critics say Toshiba’s current crisis, which has led to the sale of flash memory, television and other major operations, has its roots in Nishida’s strong management style.