Dr. Richard A. Kraft
President and Chief Operating Officer
Matsushita Electric Corporation of America
Richard A. Kraft, President and Chief Operating Officer of Matsushita Electric Corporation of America, is the first American to head the unit and one of only a few Americans to hold such a high-ranking post in a Japanese company. Kraft served as president and CEO of Matsushita Industrial Company, one of Matsushita's operations, before becoming head of all North American operations. Now in charge of 21 different divisions with sales of more than $4.3 billion, Kraft is focusing on expanding both manufacturing and research in this country and improving communications in communities where plants are located. The North American operation produces consumer goods such as televisions, microwave ovens, and videocassette recorders for Panasonic and several other labels.
Kraft, a 1950 electrical engineering graduate of Purdue, worked at Arvin Industries for a year before accepting a position with Motorola. In 1972 he became vice president of color TV engineering for the Quasar Electronics area. He joined the Matsushita staff in 1974 when the Japanese company bought Motorola's consumer electronics division.
Kraft holds 13 U. S. patents for television electronics and is a member of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers. He is a board member of the Panasonic Foundation and a member of the board of overseers of the New Jersey Institute of Technology. He also serves on the advisory board of the Japanese Culture Society at Ramapo College in New Jersey. He is a member of the Dean's Visiting Committee for the Schools of Engineering at Purdue and, in 1990, received an honorary doctorate of Engineering from Purdue.