JAL appoints "business guru" as new CEO

21:08, February 01, 2010      

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Dr. Kazuo Inamori, a well-respected entrepreneur and founder of electronics giant Kyocera Corp., began his tenure as chairman and CEO of Japan Airlines Corp. (JAL) on Monday.

Japan Airlines' new Chairman Kazuo Inamori speaks during a press conference in Tokyo Monday, Feb. 1, 2010. (Xinhua/AFP Photo)

Inamori, the 78-year-old honorary chairman of Kyocera and an ordained Buddhist priest, replaces Haruka Nishimatsu, 62, who resigned as part of JAL's bankruptcy proceedings, which took place on Jan. 19.

Inamori, teams up with Masaru Onishi, 54, the former head of Japan Air Commuter Co., a JAL subsidiary.

Onishi assumes the role of president and group chief operating officer of JAL, as Asia's largest carrier in terms of revenue continues its operations under the sponsored support of the state- backed Enterprise Turnaround Initiative Corporation of Japan (ETIC) .

Onishi's appointment on Monday marks the first time JAL has appointed a president whose main background is in maintenance operations, a sign that Japan's flagship carrier is placing particular emphasis on ensuring safe operations during the drastic restructuring measures, aimed at reviving the ailing company.

As drastic as restructuring measures will be in addressing the carrier's 16 billion U.S. dollar debt, however, Onishi maintains the decision to join forces with a U.S. carrier will not be rushed.

"Instead of being tied to previous discussions, we are currently examining the issue from scratch under the new management," Onishi said at his first news conference as JAL's president on Monday.

Analysts believed a business tie-up with Delta and a switch to the Delta-led SkyTeam global airline alliance, as opposed to a deal with the Oneworld Group, led by American Airlines, was as good as a done deal, due to Delta's already hefty presence in Asia, but Onishi indicated that this is not the case and discussions are ongoing.

Source: Xinhua

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