The outgoing CEO says Panasonic should reduce its dependence on Tesla as battery connectivity develops: Financial Times

Panasonic Corporation President Kazuhiro Tsuga attends a joint press conference with Toyota Motor Corporation President Akio Toyoda in Tokyo, Japan, on December 13, 2017. Reuters / Tooru Hanai

(Reuters) – The Financial Times reported on Sunday that the outgoing CEO of Panasonic, Kazuhiro Tsuja, said the company would need to reduce its heavy dependence on Tesla by making the batteries more compatible with electric cars than other global automakers.

“At some point, we need to graduate from our one-man approach by relying solely on Tesla,” Tsoga, who will step down after nine years as CEO from April 1, told the newspaper in an interview.

“We are entering a different phase and need to monitor the supply of manufacturers other than Tesla.”

The Japanese conglomerate announced in November that Tsuga would step down in April after nine years in office and that Yuki Kosumi, its automobile business chief, would take over.

Under Tsuga’s leadership, Panasonic has shifted its focus away from low-margin consumer electronics to batteries, plant machinery and components. The company said last month it expected the battery business it supplies to Tesla to be profitable this financial year.

Panasonic has partnered with Tesla at a $ 5 billion “Giga Factory” battery near Reno, Nevada.

Reported by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Edited by William Mallard

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