Beko Hitachi, What’s Next As Insiders Claims Former Smeg CEO Wants To Run The Show
Hitachi who are currently rolling out new French door fridges, is doing well with the likes of Harvey Norman and Bing Lee, selling hundreds of their premium top end refrigerators every month, but the big question is whether the business will be handed over to Beko management whose bottom end products are only sold in Narta stores.
Back in 2020 Arçelik the owners of Beko and Hitachi Global Life Solutions, signed a share purchase agreement to establish a new joint venture company.
As part of the transaction, Hitachi GLS establish a new company into which they transfer its global home appliances business outside of Japan.
Arçelik acquired 60% ownership in the new company.
In Australia Beko have struggled to have the right range of products and have only managed to get their ‘value’ products ranged in second tier retailers via Narta.
None of the big three appliance retailers, Harvey Norman, The Good Guys and JB Hi Fi range the Beko product.
Hitachi on the other hand has stuck to their premium products strategy, with their top end $5,499 refrigerators which are sold at Harvey Norman and Bing Lee in big demand.
Harvey Norman management have acknowledged that consumers who are prepared to pay for a premium “food management system” fridge which the Japanese Company has made themselves famous for.
ChannelNews understands that potential issues could arise at Beko after the Queensland based business appointed former Smeg CEO Jim Kalotheos who was terminated by the Italian appliance Company as sales and marketing director, reporting to CEO John Brown.
According to sources Kalotheos, has eyes on Brown’s job whose renewal of contract is due shortly and he wants to run a combined Company in Australia.
Both Brown and Kalotheos believe that Beko and Hitachi should be merged in Australia into one entity run by them.
We also understand that Brown has already approach Arçelik Hitachi Home Appliances management, regarding the future of the business in Australia, with the Beko management team believed to be keen to get hold of the Hitachi business due to the fact that they only have ‘value’ appliances in their range.
Howe this could be a problem as ChannelNews understands that Harvey Norman will not do business with Kalotheos or Brown when it comes to Hitachi which has turned into a major premium brand for the retailer.
Among the Hitachi management team is Mark Beard the former Marketing Manager at Samsung and Michael Richardson the former Vice President of Sales at Samsung.
Kalotheos who was linked to the sudden exit of former Smeg marketing Manager Olivia Anderson has already had problems getting a product under his management ranged at Harvey Norman.
After his sudden exit from Italian appliance brand Smeg, he took on the role of sales and marketing manager for the Shriro distributed Omega appliances, which during his tenure at Shriro was dropped by Harvey Norman.
A new joint venture was established that operated out of Bangkok, Thailand.
Currently local Beko MD John Brown reports to Zafer Üstüner, the former Regional Head of APAC and General Manager of Thailand at Beko.
The new JV Company now includes 11 Hitachi subsidiaries outside of Japan (two manufacturing and nine sales companies) of Hitachi GLS, being transferred into the new entity.
Arçelik Hitachi Home Appliances now controls both the Hitachi and Appliance brands in Asia Pacific including Australia.
Üstüner said in a statement “The merger has created a new and exciting journey for Arçelik Hitachi Home Appliances. It addresses the evolving needs for APAC market and tap into their economic growth in the region”.
He added “The company will also create strong efficiency gains through new procurement and manufacturing synergies gained from the partnership. Additionally, the new venture leverages Hitachi GLS’s strong presence in APAC and its high-end home appliances in the rapidly growing Asian market to make the new venture a success. Our teams have been working extremely hard on this strategic joint venture and are looking forward to seeing Arçelik Hitachi Home Appliances grow and develop in the coming years.”
Arçelik Hitachi Home Appliances was established on July 1st, 2021, they will sell and provide after-sales services to Hitachi branded home appliances including refrigerators, washing machines, vacuum cleaners globally (outside of the Japanese market).
Arçelik acquired 60% ownership in the new company while Hitachi Global Life Solutions, has a 40% shareholder of the new company.
Neither Hitachi nor Beko management in Australia have commented for this story.