Sharp CEO Faces Resignation Calls From Angry Shareholders

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Sharp Corp. Chief Executive Officer Kozo Takahashi faced calls for his resignation at the struggling Japanese television and display maker’s annual meeting.

“Letting the president stay is unacceptable,” one stock owner said at the meeting in Osaka, without giving his name. “I couldn’t have even dreamed that something like this would be happening. My retirement money is all gone.” Shareholders approved Takahashi as CEO in a vote at the meeting.

Takahashi defended the restructuring plans for the company, which has lost about $4.3 billion in market value since he took over in June 2013. Sharp announced job cuts and a reorganization last month and is struggling under debt that mounted after lower-cost rivals in South Korea and China undercut its core business making liquid-crystal-display TVs.

“These words from shareholders have deeply touched me,” Takahashi said at the meeting, his voice cracking with emotion. “We absolutely must become a company that has value in this world.”

Takahashi also said he would accept a 70 percent wage cut in the July through September period, widening his pay reduction from the 55 percent cut he had previously taken.

Sharp fell 1.8 percent to 163 yen as of the trading close in Tokyo on Tuesday. The stock is down 39 percent this year, compared with a 19 percent gain in the Topix index.

Sharp plans to pare its workforce 10 percent after taking another lifeline from lenders. The company has lost about $13 billion in the last four fiscal years, was on the brink of bankruptcy, and now is selling its headquarters and shrinking its solar business.

The percentage of shareholders voting for and against keeping Takahashi as CEO was not announced at the meeting and will be available two days from now, said company spokesman Heihachiro Ochiai.

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