Chairman Matsushita, Senior Advisor Yamashita and President Tanii at a reception marking Tanii's inauguration.
In September 1985, five leading industrial nations agreed to a joint intervention in international currency markets, purchasing yen in a move that rapidly increased the value of the Japanese currency and caused the nation's economy to slide into a recession. Recognizing the need for change, Yamashita moved from the post of president to senior adviser in February 1986, opening the way for then vice-president Akio Tanii to move into the leadership of Panasonic.
Tanii, who had led the company's ACTION 86 campaign, immediately undertook a fundamental restructuring of the company, under what he called a Management Innovation Plan. He placed priority on four main product areas-information and communications equipment, computerized manufacturing equipment, semiconductor devices and new-generation AV equipment-and appointed executives to promote each.
The reorganization took another step forward in November 1987, when Tanii decided to change the company's marketing focus. Three new sales divisions were created for this purpose: the Corporate Consumer Products Sales Division, the Corporate Systems Sales Division, and the Corporate International Industry Sales Division.
Beginning in 1987, Tanii launched a drive for better product design in which sensitivity to human needs would be combined with advanced technologies. He called this concept "Human Electronics."
Other important management changes in 1987 included the adoption of a unified accounting year for the Panasonic Group, followed by a revised personnel policy in 1988.
President Tanii visits a retail store to hear customer opinions.
President Tanii celebrating production of the company's 50 millionth VCR at the Video Division's Okayama Plant.
President Tanii inspecting an LCD line at the Ishikawa Plant of Matsushita Electronic Components.