Kenwood Corporation, Tokyo, is merging its North American subsidiary companies into one—Kenwood USA—and changing the executive management for the new combination. Tom Wineland, president of the Kenwood Communications subsidiary, will leave the company at the end of October as part of the management shakeup.

A statement released by the company said that the merger would better serve the company’s primary markets of land mobile radio communications, and mobile and home entertainment.

After the merger, two Kenwood USA divisions, Communications and Consumer Electronics, will market products in the United States. In addition to heading all of Kenwood’s North American operations, Moriyuki Tamura will head the Communications Division, which will handle land mobile radio and amateur radio products. Tamura relocated to the United States from Japan last month.

Kenwood USA’s vice president, Bob Law, will head the Consumer Electronics Division, which will handle home and mobile entertainment products. Law takes over from Joe Richter, president of Kenwood USA, who is leaving the company.

Law said that besides Wineland and Richter, four other employees involved in operations and finance are being let go. Together, the six managerial and mid-level positions being eliminated are expected to save the company $1.2 million annually.

"These changes will strengthen global administration and bring top management closer to the market," Tamura said, in a prepared statement.

Tamura said the merger would enable the company to streamline its reporting structure to improve responsiveness and operating efficiency. With the merger, Tamura’s title will change from president of Kenwood Americas to president of Kenwood USA.

In a restructuring set for Nov. 1, the two land mobile radio-oriented North American subsidiaries, Kenwood Communications and Kenwood Systems, will be merged into Long Beach, Calif.-based Kenwood USA.

Also merging into Kenwood USA are Kenwood Service, the North American service operation, and Kenwood Americas, which previously served as the holding company for the other four: USA, Communications, Systems and Service.

Kenwood USA already was the largest affiliate company of the Japanese parent corporation. Founded in 1946 as a manufacturer of high-fidelity components and amateur radio equipment, Kenwood entered the land mobile radio market in 1983.

The Dow Jones newswire reported that as of the end of September, Kenwood had reduced its worldwide workforce by 642, or 27 percent, from 2,367 six months ago. The reduction stemmed from a rising value of the Japanese currency — making export pricing higher to foreign buyers — and from weak mobile phone sales. In May, the newswire had reported Kenwood’s plan to close four overseas plants.