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CEO Lecture Series at Rutgers Business School will feature Joseph Taylor, chief executive and chairman of Panasonic North America, speaking on "The Challenge of Remaking a 100-year-old Global Corporation."

NEWARK, N.J., Feb. 14, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Joseph Taylor, CEO and chairman of Panasonic North America, will provide Rutgers Business School students with an insightful look at leadership and strategy on Thursday, Feb. 20 as the next featured guest in the school's distinguished CEO Lecture Series.


Taylor's talk, "The Challenge of Remaking a 100-year-old Global Corporation," will focus on Panasonic's emergence from its business struggles and what it has taken to regain the company's footing in the global marketplace.

Students, faculty alumni, journalists and others interested in attending are encouraged to register. The event will take place from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. inside Bove Auditorium, Rutgers Business School, One Washington Park, Newark. A reception will follow in the lounge outside Bove.

"There's an old saying, "When you find yourself in a hole, you should stop digging," Taylor said. "When we found ourselves in trouble it took us too long to react."

The CEO Lecture Series is one of the most distinguished thought leadership events sponsored by Rutgers Business School. It was started as a way of providing students with access to leading executives and their real-life insights about the business world. In the past, the event has also featured successful Rutgers alums such as Avon CEO Sheri McCoy and Gregory Weaver, chairman and chief executive of Deloitte & Touche.

Taylor, who completed his undergraduate studies at LaSalle College, offers the unique perspective of a former entrepreneur who joined Panasonic and was given an increasing amount of responsibility, leading to his move into the corner office. He is the first American to hold the titles of chief executive and chairman at Panasonic and to have a seat on the global company's board of directors.    

Taylor said his own management style is a combination of Japanese and American influences. "The Japanese manage by consensus and American managers are known for unilateral decision-making," Taylor said. "I think the combination of both is the best of all."

He was a key North American executive when Panasonic experienced back-to-back annual losses and launched a turnaround that required the company to shift away from unprofitable businesses, including consumer electronics, and redirect its focus on business-to-business products as well as automotive systems products, including battery cells to electric car makers like Toyota and Tesla Motors.

If Panasonic was slow to respond to marketplace changes, it was quick to set a course to return the company to profitability. Taylor credited Panasonic's turnaround to a collective open-mindedness, strong decision-making and a willingness to change course.

After graduating from college, Taylor followed his entrepreneurial instincts and with a friend, he started two companies, one built around solar panels and another focused on residential hydroelectricity. "We were," Taylor said, "a little ahead of our time."

Neither of his early ventures succeeded. Later, Taylor joined Panasonic where he managed the company's development of a revolutionary new rotary compressor. Panasonic would perfect the technology and use it to improve the efficiency of air conditioners and refrigerators.

During his 30 years at Panasonic, Taylor has filled a variety of positions, including president and chief operating officer of Panasonic Industrial Company and chief operating officer for Panasonic North America, which serves as the heart of Panasonic's U.S. branding, sales and R&D operations.

Last year, Panasonic moved 1,000 employees into a new $200 million, 12-story headquarters building near Penn Station in Newark. The company has agreed to lease the building for 15 years. As CEO, Taylor advocated relocating from Secaucus to downtown Newark, where the project represented the first new office development in two decades.

It's the sort of task Taylor has always been willing to take on.

"I find that if you're lucky enough to be successful, there's a lot of work and responsibility that you'll be given," Taylor said. "So far, it's worked out okay."

SOURCE Rutgers Business School

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