Bye Bye Mr. Matsushita

Does the gentleman in the picture (and on the cover of Time magazine) look bummed to you? Well, you would be too, if shareholders took your name off your own company, the one you founded and poured your heart and soul into.

Not that there's anything that Konosuke Mastushita or his family can do about it. It's a done deal. Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. has changed its name to Panasonic Corporation, after the familiar brand name. The switchover took effect in Japan October 1, and the NYSE symbol changed from MC to PC. It will take a while to change everything, but it's scheduled to be completed by March 2010.

After 90 years, Matsushita is no more. Kind of sad. Very sad, in fact. But it does settle the problem of conflicting names. There was always a tinge of confusion when Matsushita and Panasonic came up in consumer conversations. And at least in the U.S., Panasonic is better known, and easier to pronounce. (Which syllable does get accentuated?) On the other hand, the name Panasonic does imply an audio technology, and I bet that these days a minority of Matsushita, er, Panasonic's revenue comes from audio.

And there's more....

Konosuke_matsushitas_statuesMatsushita, er, Panasonic has always maintained the National brand in Japan. As you might guess, National is slated for a name makeover, scheduled to be completed in March 2010.

I guess that's just the reality of globalization and today's corporate world. But what's next: Will Ford change its name to Mercury? -Ken C. Pohlmann