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NEC chairman to spend more time with his family

Resignation follows defence-procurement scandal. H1 1999 loss hasn't helped either

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NEC chairman Tadahiro Sekimoto has resigned following revelations of the company's involvement in a contract-padding scandal, Reuters reported today. Fortunately for Mr Sekimoto, Seppuku is no longer the only answer to public disgrace -- Sekimoto has not been implicated in the scandal, and said: "I am not taking responsibility [for the scandal], but as the highest ranking official at NEC I want to socially and morally put an end to this." Presumably that's why NEC will be retaining his services as an advisor to the company. NEC president Hisashi Kaneko retains his post. The scandal emerged last month when three NEC officials were indicted for persuading the Japanese Defence Agency to reduce payments NEC was to the Agency for overcharging it for equipment it supplied. In exchange for the reductions, NEC employed formed Agency staff members as executives. Meanwhile, the troubled Japanese economy resulted in a fall of 11 per cent in NEC's sales for the first half of the company's 1999 fiscal year, compared to the same period last year. That put revenue for the period at Y2113 billion, resulting in a Y24.5 billion pre-tax loss. Looking ahead, NEC said it intends to beef up its systems integration business while restructuring its semiconductor operation. It also intends to embark on a programme to reduce fixed expenses and "shift management resources", though it was not forthcoming on details. ® Click for more stories

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