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As Apple display partner Sharp continues to bleed, new owner Foxconn shakes up management

While display panel maker Sharp continues to lose money, the Japanese company faces a sweeping management reorganization under the thumb of its new owner, Apple manufacturing partner Foxconn.



Despite being a favorite among Japanese consumers due to its long history in pioneering new electronics, Sharp has nonetheless faced a series of continued losses since its 2012 big investment in large displays and solar panels. Sharp's losses in 2015 totaled ¥256 billion ($2.37 billion U.S.).

Current Sharp CEO Kozo Takahashi attributed those losses to stiff competition for smartphones and displays, as well as lower demand from China, according to The Wall Street Journal. In a statement on Thursday, he took took responsibility for the company's last two years of heavy losses.

"A leader has to be successful all the time," Takahashi said. "Any large mistakes will blow up all previous success. This is an extremely painful thing."

Sharp is set for a management shakeup once Foxconn's ownership goes into effect —Takahashi will be replaced as CEO by Tai Jeng-Wu. Tai Jeng-Wu is second in command currently at Foxconn under Chairman Terry Gou and has been Gou's right-hand man for many years.

Foxconn has also announced plans to remove 12 of Sharp's 13 board members, and will reduce the board down to nine total members, with six appointed by Foxconn directly. Like the CEO switch, those changes are set to take place after Foxconn takes ownership.

Taiwanese-based Foxconn stepped in last month, agreeing to buy the electronics company for 389 billion yen (US$3.5 billion), lowering its initial offer by nearly $2.5 billion due to undisclosed liabilities.

Foxconn's acquisition of Sharp, already the primary display supplier of LCDs for Apple's iPad Pro, is viewed by many as an opportunity for Foxconn to muscle its way deeper into Apple's supply chain, well beyond just device assembly.