Electronics giant Canon has started its worldwide policy of employing non-Japanese in top-level management by appointing Martin Laws its UK managing director.
Laws takes over this week, when former head Yukio Yamashita transfers to Japanese headquarters.
A spokesman for the company says Laws – who joined the cameras-to-photocopiers company in 1976, when it first set up in the UK – is the first non-Japanese managing director for a Canon division.
Ian Gravener, field operations/sales director, has been moved into a new position of deputy managing director. The company says the management changes could lead to a staff restructure.
Laws, who was previously financial director, will oversee a yearly advertising budget of more than 8m.
The UK company had a turnover of 436m for the year to December 31, 1994 and has more than 2,500 staff.
Yamashita joined Canon UK from Canon Europa in 1980 and has been involved in setting up Canon Research Europe at Guildford.
The spokesman says the Japanese parent company plans to let more of its worldwide divisions appoint their own senior management.