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Yamaha Corp. Eliminates 101 Positions in Buena Park as Sales and Profits Decline

Times Staff Writer

Yamaha Corp. of America, the nation’s largest marketer of musical instruments, said Monday that it has eliminated 101 positions at its Buena Park headquarters.

The action was an apparent response to declining sales and profits at the company, which has suffered from a softening of the electronics instruments market and stiffer competition from other manufacturers.

The company’s intention to reduce staff was disclosed in a letter sent to Yamaha employees in late January. The cutback, completed Monday, affects 17% of the 580 positions on “the music side of the business” in Buena Park, said company spokesman Bill Nye. No cutbacks were made among the 50 Buena Park employees at Yamaha of America’s smaller sporting goods and consumer electronics operations, he added.

Nye declined to say how many of the positions were eliminated through voluntary resignations and early retirements or how much money the company expects to save as a result of the work force reduction.

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Masahiko Arimoto, president of Yamaha of America, had offered all full-time employees in the musical instrument unit who agreed to resign voluntarily a special benefits package with extended medical and insurance benefits and up to 10 months’ severance pay.

Yamaha employees had until March 3 to decide whether to leave of their own accord. Since then, Nye said, other employees have been laid off, and several have been hired to replace workers who resigned but whose positions the company wants to retain.

Nye said the positions cut were wide-ranging and included secretaries, accounting staff and customer service and sales representatives.

The highest-ranking employees to leave, Nye said, were an executive vice president of finance and administration and an executive vice president of sales and marketing, who were transferred back to Japan.

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In addition, two American executives--the senior vice president of finance and the senior vice president for industry relations--took voluntary retirement, Nye said.


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