Panasonic Corporation of North America announced that two of its former executives, Richard Kraft and Dr. Larry Weber, were inducted into the Consumer Electronics Association’s (CEA) “Consumer Electronics Hall of Fame” this week in ceremonies held at the CEA Industry Forum in San Francisco, CA.
Unedited press release follows:
Panasonic Salutes Two Former Executives Inducted Into Consumer Electronics Hall of Fame
Richard Kraft – Former Panasonic North America President and Dr. Larry Weber – Plasmaco Founder & Technology Pioneer
Honored by CEA for Their Contributions to the Consumer Electronics Industry
SECAUCUS, N.J., Oct. 21 — Two former executives of Panasonic, a leader in High Definition, Full HD 3D, and Plasma television technologies, were inducted into the Consumer Electronics Association’s (CEA) prestigious “Consumer Electronics Hall of Fame” this week in ceremonies held at the CEA Industry Forum in San Francisco, CA.
The CE Hall of Fame, created in 2000, honors consumer electronics industry leaders who have made fundamental contributions to the products and services that improve consumers’ lives and are a vital part of our nation and its economy. Hall of Fame inductees include inventors, executives, engineers, retailers and journalists who are selected annually by an independent panel of industry judges.
Inducted as part of the CE Hall of Fame “Class of 2010″ were Richard Kraft, Panasonic Corporation of North America’s former president and chief operating officer and the first American to hold that position, and Dr. Larry Weber, founder of plasma display panel developer Plasmaco, which was later purchased by Panasonic but which Dr. Weber continued to lead as president.
Mr. Kraft helped usher in the era of high-definition television in the U.S., and led the way in encouraging local manufacturing and R&D investment in North America among Asian electronics companies. A gifted technologist and communicator, Kraft rose to become the first U.S. president and chief operating officer of Panasonic Corporation of North America, the principal North American subsidiary of Osaka, Japan-based Panasonic Corporation (NYSE: PC). Under Kraft’s leadership, Panasonic expanded its North American manufacturing and R&D operations, especially in digital TV and cable, revitalizing the company and positioning it for HDTV leadership. A member of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, Mr. Kraft holds 13 U.S. patents for television electronics.
Dr. Weber is credited with bringing a number of key plasma display technologies to the CE industry including the energy recovery sustain circuit which cut power consumption by as much as half. Dr. Weber was a founder of Plasmaco in 1987, which initially manufactured small monochrome displays featuring his energy recovery sustain circuit. A longtime believer in the technology, Dr. Weber’s work on Plasma display efficiency and his later efforts in 1994 towards creating a color plasma display are believed to have kept the plasma industry alive in the face of tough competition. The industry then took notice of plasma display technology, as well as plasma’s impressive contrast ratio provided by one of Dr. Weber’s key inventions, and in 1996 Plasmaco became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Panasonic.
Dr. Weber continues to work on plasma displays today and has published more than 40 papers, and holds 15 patents on plasma displays — including those for the energy recovery sustain circuit and the high contrast ratio method.
“Panasonic has a long history of ground-breaking innovation and leadership that has been the cornerstone for the growth of the consumer electronics industry,” said Joseph M. Taylor, Chairman and CEO of Panasonic Corporation of North America. “The induction of Mr. Kraft and Dr. Weber into the CE Hall of Fame underscores our company’s long history of industry leadership. On behalf of the all of our employees, we congratulate Richard and Larry on this well deserved honor and thank and applaud them for their significant contributions to Panasonic’s leadership position in the industry.”
About Panasonic Corporation of North America
Based in Secaucus, NJ, Panasonic Corporation of North America provides a broad line of digital and other electronics products for consumer, business and industrial use. The company is the principal North American subsidiary of Osaka, Japan-based Panasonic Corporation (NYSE: PC), and the hub of Panasonic’s U.S. branding, marketing, sales, service and R&D operations.
The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) is the preeminent trade association promoting growth in the $165 billion U.S. consumer electronics industry. More than 2,000 companies enjoy the benefits of CEA membership, including legislative advocacy, market research, technical training and education, industry promotion, standards development and the fostering of business and strategic relationships. CEA also sponsors and manages the International CES – The Global Stage for Innovation. All profits from CES are reinvested into CEA’s industry services.