|Born||September 17, 1912
Tokyo, Empire of Japan
|Died||July 16, 2012
Masaharu Matsushita (松下 正治 Matsushita Masaharu?, September 17, 1912 – July 16, 2012), was a Japanese businessman who served as the second President of Panasonic for sixteen years beginning in 1961. He was the son-in-law of Panasonic's founder, Konosuke Matsushita. Masaharu Matsushita has been credited with expanding Panasonic into a global brand during a time of high economic expansion in Japan.
Matsushita was born Masaharu Hirata. He was the son of a painter. He originally studied law at the present-day University of Tokyo. Matsushita worked as a banker before joining Panasonic. In April 1940, he married Sachiko Matsushita, the daughter of Panasonic's founder, and was adopted into her family, taking their surname. He began working for his father-in-law the following month.
Masaharu Matsushita is credited with turning Panasonic into a global electronics brand. He succeeded his father-in-law as President of Panasonic in 1961 as the company's second president. Under him, Panasonic retained its management philosophy, which emphasized teamwork and promoted the idea that bosses were equal to their employees. High ranking management performed more tasks with their employees, such as cleaning bathrooms. Panasonic's company philosophy has been admired and copied within the Japanese business world. Masaharu Matsushita held the presidency of Panasonic for sixteen years, during a period of worldwide growth for Japan. Toshihiko Yamashita took over the presidency in 1977. He was conferred the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Sacred Treasure in 1984, and was appointed an honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE) in 1997.
Masaharu Matsushita died at Matsushita Memorial Hospital in Osaka, a hospital founded by his father-in-law, on July 16, 2012, at the age of 99. He was survived by his wife, Sachiko, and their son, Panasonic Vice Chairman Masayuki Matsushita, who is the only member of the Matsushita family still on the company's board of directors.
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