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Toshiba Adds Track Record to Irvine Operations

Scott Maccabe’s success turning Toshiba’s storage device business in the U.S. into a multibillion-dollar engine was a key factor when his Tokyo-based bosses pegged him to take on another round of challenges in leading the company’s printing equipment and services business.

Maccabe last month took the reins at Irvine-based Toshiba America Business Services Inc., which is among OC’s largest private companies, with about $1 billion in annual sales.

Maccabe will be expected to deliver results along the lines of his 11-year stint as senior vice president and general manager of Toshiba America Electronic Components, also in Irvine. The storage device unit saw sales rise from $250 million to more than $2 billion under his guidance, a 700% jump.

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Now he has an opportunity to do a “similar type thing” with the printing business, Maccabe recently said at Toshiba’s growing campus on Irvine Boulevard. “The company is focused on the longevity of the business and wanted to invest and bring in some additional resources.”

Maccabe replaced Noboru Sawada, who had served as interim chief executive since May, when he took over for Mark Matthews, who abruptly resigned shortly after a year at the helm to “pursue other interests,” according to a company spokesperson.

Toshiba America employs 2,700 companywide in 101 U.S. offices and a toner plant in South Dakota. Most of its products, which include scanners, printers, copiers and digital displays, among others, are made in China Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.  

About 1,200 people work in Toshiba’s 450,000-square-foot operation in Irvine, which houses corporate executives, research and development, a display room, and several other business units (see related story, page 1).

Four of Toshiba America’s business divisions, which employ about 300 in OC, are among them and include: the Electronic Imaging Division, comprised of a network of more than 250 resellers; its direct sales and service arm, Toshiba Business Solutions; Document, Solutions Engineering; and Toshiba Managed Business Services, which consults Fortune 500 companies on improving printing efficiencies and moving, sharing and protecting sensitive data on network-attached devices.

Corporate Structure

The Toshiba America unit is part of Tokyo-based Toshiba Tec Corp., which is publicly traded on Japan’s Nikkei exchange and posts annual sales of more than $5 billion. Toshiba Corp., which has nearly $77 billion in annual sales, is its primary stockholder, with about a 55% majority stake. The conglomerate operates more than 70 businesses in the U.S., ranging from its struggling TV and PC outfits, to power plants, train engines and home appliances.

Toshiba America targets the retail, health, government and education sectors, among others. Big customers include Southwest Airlines, Hoag Hospital, state agencies and the Los Angeles Unified School District.

It competes against big players, such as the Irvine-based U.S. operations of Ricoh Electronics Inc., Xerox and Hewlett-Packard, in a maturing segment with annual growth rates typically between 5% and 7%.

“It’s not a rapidly growing market segment,” Maccabe said. “You’ve got to be able to educate the customer base in the most efficient solutions.”

For Toshiba America, that means pushing innovation and finding opportunities for growth.

New Division

That’s why executives placed a high priority on expanding its managed business division, which launched last year and aims to help customers wrestling with cloud computing, growing security issues, and the changing landscape of information-technology spending.

“That’s a significant growing segment of this particular market space,” Maccabe said. “It will be a critical focus for our organization.”

The launch included a digital signage products business line, which landed its first significant deal last year with the San Diego Chargers. The work entailed replacing 56 outdated televisions at Qualcomm Stadium, the team’s home field, with Toshiba large-screen, high-definition flat TVs. Toshiba America also installed digital media players and related software from New York-based ComQi to integrate game-day content, league news and fantasy football stats through the stadium’s video display network.

In June, the company introduced what’s billed as the first commercial printer that allows users to recycle a sheet of paper as many as 10 times by erasing toner ink through a heating mechanism in the machine.

Early this year, Toshiba America launched a self-encrypting drive that erases data immediately if it is compromised or removed from an unauthorized source.

The company also is developing communication boards and a large interactive display—the types that could be set up in lobbies, conference rooms or other areas.

The display is dubbed Virtuoso and is being pegged for various applications, including educating customers and resellers on its product lines.

HQ Intro

The product drew some attention when U.S. executives, including Maccabe, introduced it to their Japanese counterparts in July as part of Toshiba’s annual brainstorming and strategic meeting that attracts hundreds of the company’s top brass to its Tokyo headquarters.

“This is a prime example where innovation takes leadership to the point where we can stay ahead of a waning or flat type of market environment,” Maccabe said.

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