U.S. Executive Jumps to Seiko From Toshiba

A top American executive of Toshiba America’s information systems division in Irvine has resigned to head the U.S. operations of Seiko Instruments USA Inc.

Effective Feb. 10, John Rehfeld, 48, will run Torrance-based Seiko Instruments USA, an industrial high-tech and consumer electronic products subsidiary of Seiko Instruments Inc. of Japan.

As Seiko’s president, chief operating officer and a director, Rehfeld will become one of the highest-ranking Americans at a U.S. subsidiary of a Japanese firm in the technology products field.

Rehfeld vacates the post of vice president and general manager of the Toshiba division, a unit of Toshiba Corp., a Japanese electronics giant.


Mark Tanaka, assistant general manager for personal computers at Toshiba, will assume the position of interim general manager of the division, Toshiba America said. The information systems division, which manufactures personal computers and printers, employs about 450 people and expects sales for fiscal 1988, ending March 31, to be about $450 million.

Rehfeld is credited with steering Toshiba into a dominant position in the fast-growing market for laptop computers--small, lightweight machines that are easily carried by executives, salespeople and journalists.

Seiko is “a multi-marketplace, multi-product company (and) essentially, I’m doing the job my boss was doing at Toshiba,” Rehfeld said in an interview. “Organizationally, I’ve moved from being a division general manager to being president of a company with seven operating divisions.”

Seiko Instruments USA employs about 300 people and had 1988 sales of $130 million.

Rehfeld’s move to Seiko signals an expanding role in the company for U.S. executives, he said, adding: “We’ll do everything we can to attract and retain the best American management.”

The American subsidiary hopes to broaden its product line in consumer electronics as well as high-resolution graphics and high-resolution computer printers, Rehfeld said.

Seiko’s current president, Hiroshi Fukino, will become chairman and chief executive of Seiko Instruments USA. Reinosuke Hara, current chairman, will continue as president of Seiko Instruments in Japan.