In early 1991, after a record-setting period of economic expansion, the Japanese economy showed signs of a slowdown. Financial warning signals in the second half heralded a collapse of the economic bubble. The continuing fall of stock and property values caused the recession to deepen in 1992, while the government was paralyzed by the commotion surrounding revelations of illicit campaign donations to major politicians.
The electronics industry also registered a steep drop in sales. In February 1993, with no end to the slowdown in sight, President Akio Tanii stepped down, surrendering the reins of the company to Yoichi Morishita. At a Special Management Meeting following his appointment, Morishita announced a four-point strategy to deal with the difficult economic situation, instructing employees to: 1) continue to focus on the company's corporate mission and responsibilities to society; 2) base management innovation on "creativity and daring"; 3) further the Panasonic tradition of autonomous management; and 4) rebuild Panasonic into a healthy, dynamic entity.
President Yoichi Morishita (second from right) visits the Panasonic's picture tube factory,Ohio,USA
In explaining the concept of "creativity and daring," Morishita began by quoting lines from a poem by Samuel Ullman:
"'...(Youth) is a matter of the will, a quality of the imagination, a vigor of the emotions...Youth means a temperamental predominance of courage over timidity, for adventure over the love of ease...'
"The exercise of creativity and daring brings problems to the surface, but it also imbues us with the vigor to confront them.
Daring always implies a risk of failure, from which we must be willing to stand up and try again. Yet even failures can empower us. To do the pedestrian, the obvious, accomplishes nothing. We will create a bright future for our company when each employee sits down and asks him or herself about what he or she should be doing."
As the centennial of its founding nears, Panasonic made a new beginning under a new president.
Of the Matsushita Electronics Corporation stock that had been in the possession of Panasonic (65%) and Philips (Philips Electronics N.V. and Philips Lighting N.V.) (35%), Philips′ 35% stake was acquired by Panasonic for a total of 185 billion yen (645 yen per share) by basic agreement reached in April 1993. This gave full ownership of Matsushita Electronics Corporation to Panasonic.
The ramification of this was that the two companies dissolved their Matsushita Electronics Corporation partnership that had lasted for over 40 years. In addition, Matsushita Electronics Corporation and Philips entered into a new patent cross license agreement pertaining to the business operations of Matsushita Electronics Corporation.
In December 1952, Matsushita Electronics Corporation became the first collaborative operation to be established through a merger between our company and Philips. Founder Konosuke Matsushita, who embraced the belief that technological collaboration with the advanced companies of Europe and the United States would be critical for our future development, decided on the merger with Philips after personally travelling to the USA and Europe in order to visit leading companies and consider prospective partners. The company was established with capital of 660 million yen, an amount that at the time exceeded our company′s capital of 500 million yen.
It was later that Matsushita Electronics Corporation got a new start in April 2001 in a merger with Panasonic that saw the launch of the internal division companies “Semiconductor Company,” “Display Device Company,” and “Lighting Company.”
A new bulb-type fluorescent light, the DFT16EL, was produced in 1993 that could be screwed into an ordinary light socket. It lasted about six times as long as a conventional light bulb and consumed about one-third the power of a silica bulb of equivalent brightness, serving as an energy-saving, resource-saving light source.
An all-electronic high-performance inverter that was compact, lightweight, and low-cost was also developed. This was combined with the compact, yet highly efficient light-emitting tube to achieve a compact and lightweight body. This dramatically increased the number of its applications to appliances, for home use and industrial use.