Mitome Heads New Seiko Watch Corp.

Tsutomu Mitome, president and chief executive officer of Seiko Corp. of America (SCA), will head the new Seiko Watch Corp., which Seiko Corp. will spin off as a wholly owned subsidiary at a June 28 shareholders meeting.

At that same meeting, Seiko Corp. will formally become a holding company, involved only in the financial and real estate concerns of its six independent companies.

Reijiro Hattori, who has been chairman of Seiko Corp., will become honorary chairman. Current vice president Koichi Morano will replace Chushichi Inoue as president, and Inuoe will become an advisor to Seiko Corp.

Spinning off Seiko Watch Corp., which is the largest business of Seiko Corp., as an independent company is “a logical progression,” a top Seiko Watch Corp. official told JCK.

The corporation in previous years has set up its various businesses—such as information technology, watches, and sporting goods—as five independent companies. The watch division is the last to be spun off. “The new system will make clear who is responsible for businesses in each of the subsidiaries, improving management efficiencies,” says a Seiko Corp. spokesperson.

Mitome has been with Seiko for 40 years, 12 of which—including the last three years—were spent at the company’s U.S. operations. He was expected to return to Tokyo headquarters by May. However, he will continue as chairman of SCA and make quarterly visits to the United States, Seiko watches’ most successful market.

Seiko Corp. also announced recently that it was revising upward its net profit estimate for the year ending March 31, from 6 billion yen (about US$48.6 million) to 6.5 billion yen (about US$52.7 million). Strong sales of information technology products, glasses, and sporting goods—as well as solid business in watches overseas—had offset falling domestic watch sales in Japan.