Panasonic Corporation of North America Names New Chairman and CEO

Panasonic Corporation has named Tom Gebhardt, currently president of Peachtree City, GA-based Panasonic Automotive Systems Company, to succeed Joseph M. Taylor as chairman and CEO of Panasonic Corporation of North America based in Newark. Mr. Gebhardt, a 32-year veteran of the company, will become chairman and CEO effective April 1, 2017.

After almost 34 years with Panasonic Corporation’s principle US subsidiary, Mr. Taylor has chosen to retire. During his seven years as Chairman and CEO, Mr. Taylor successfully led the company’s business transformation during which its primary focus shifted from consumer electronics products to B2B and B2G solutions, while also driving a culture of innovation. Mr. Taylor, the first American executive officer and managing executive officer of the Panasonic Corporation, as well as the first non-Japanese to serve as chairman & CEO of Panasonic Corporation of North America, led the company’s growth in each year of his tenure and to exceptionally high growth, sales and revenue in the current fiscal year.  Mr. Taylor was also responsible for creating Panasonic’s Smart City initiatives which demonstrate how public-private partnerships can work to improve the quality of life of residents. He was also instrumental in the decision to move the company’s headquarters to Newark in 2013.

During his tenure as Chairman and CEO, Mr. Taylor received many tributes, including a doctorate in engineering honoris causa from the New Jersey Institute of Technology in 2010 and the 2016 Corporate Leadership Award from the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice.

Tom Gebhardt has led Panasonic Automotive Systems Company of America since 2012, presiding over its growth into Panasonic’s largest and most dynamic business in North America.  During his career with the company, Mr. Gebhardt has served as President of Panasonic Industrial Group, President of Panasonic Factory Solutions Company of America, and General Manager of Panasonic Batteries.

“I want to thank Joe Taylor for his more than 34 years of service to Panasonic, his vision and unmatched leadership of Panasonic Corporation of North America,” said Kazuhiro Tsuga, president of Panasonic Corporation. “Panasonic is also grateful that Joe has agreed to help us position Panasonic Avionics Corporation and Hussmann Corporation for continued success.”

“To have been a part of this hundred-year-old global company has been an honor,” said Mr. Taylor. “To lead Panasonic in North America, particularly as the first non-Japanese head, has been a privilege.  I have had a great ride, led a huge business transformation, worked with and met wonderful people, been around the world and had an opportunity to play a role in the technology revolution.  I never dreamed of such a life.  To finish this phase of my career knowing my successor is Tom Gebhardt makes it perfect.”

Upon retiring, Mr. Taylor will assume the role of Vice Chairman of the company until December 31, 2017. He will also serve as a strategic advisor to Lake Forest, CA-based Panasonic Avionics Corporation and as a board member of Panasonic Corp. of North America subsidiary Hussmann Corporation, which is based in Bridgeton, MO.

“I am honored to be chosen to lead this exciting company into the next phase of its growth,” said Gebhardt. “I continue to be impressed by the dedication and knowledge of our employees and I look forward to continuing to build our presence in this market so we can provide customers with the innovative solutions they have come to expect from Panasonic. I would like to sincerely thank Joe Taylor for the commitment and expertise he’s demonstrated in helping the company transform over the past few years, and I am committed to continuing his good work.”

Succeeding Mr. Gebhardt as president of Panasonic Automotive Systems Company of America will be Scott Kirchner, who currently serves as the company’s chief technology officer and Executive vice president.

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