A year and a half in the life of Yasuo Sakuma

By James Wells

BRAESIDE: Current.com.au takes a look at the events which have taken place at Pioneer Electronics over the last 18 months under the management of Yasuo Sakuma.

During his time with the company, Sakuma has conducted two restructures, lost key senior sales and marketing executives and introduced the brand into two key product categories – Blu-ray Disc players and GPS navigation.

Earlier this year, he confirmed the company will look to launch Sharp-manufactured LCD televisions between 30-inches and 40-inches by the end of this year which were suitable for smaller rooms.

Plasma televisions would focus on the larger screen sizes, which would mirror the business strategy employed by its competitor and business partner Panasonic.

Prior to joining the local subsidiary, Sakuma worked within the company’s business planning department for its plasma business in Tokyo.

Sakuma joined the business in August 2006 and worked under then managing director, Ken Barelli, before succeeding him on 1 April 2007.

In mid-November 2006, Barelli announced that he would leave his role on 31 March 2007 after 31 years with the company including 17 as managing director during which time he achieved the best results of any subsidiary within the Japanese consumer electronics manufacturer.

22 May 2007 – Pioneer announces initial internal restructure
19 September 2007 – Pioneer to spend $1.5 million on Kuro advertising – its largest ever marketing investment in Australia
21 September 2007 – Sharp takes $US365 million shareholding in Pioneer
9 November 2007 – Pioneer announces ‘Star’ dealer network for car audio specialists
20 November 2007 – Pioneer opens up distribution of premium LX range to mass market Australian retailers and dumps previous ‘tiered’ strategy favouring specialists
7 January 2008 – Pioneer announces it has created a plasma prototype just cm thick
7 January 2008 – Pioneer declares victory in plasma contrast ratio war with prototype boasting zero idling pixel emissions
7 March 2008 – Pioneer announces it will cease manufacturing plasma televisions
7 March 2008 – Pioneer to enter LCD market with Sharp made panels
7 March 2008 – Pioneer says it will focus more on navigation and wireless home networks
5 May 2008 – Pioneer restructure announced with more focus on specialist channel
31 July 2008 – Pioneer announces new Kuro panels – the last made by the company before switching to sourced panels from Panasonic
28 August 2008 – Pioneer announces launch of ninth generation Kuro costing over $10,000

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