TOKYO (AP) _ Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd., Japan's No.1 consumer electronics company, said Monday its president would resign next month to make way for his hand-picked successor.

Toshihiko Yamashita, 66, president of Matsushita since 1977, will be succeeded by Akio Tanii, 57, currently executive vice president, Matsushita said.

Matsushita, the world's biggest producer of VHS videocassette recorders, sells consumer products under the Panasonic, Quasar and Technics brand names. It also supplies VCRs that are sold under the brand names of General Electric, Magnavox and Sylvania.

Matsushita said Tanii was in charge of the company's videocassette recorder operations from 1972 to 1982 and was responsible for making the company No.1 in the business.

The management change will take effect after it is approved at the company's board meeting Feb. 19, Matsushita said.

Justin Camerlengo, a spokesman for Matsushita Electric Corporation of America, said Yamashita chose Tanii to succeed him. Camerlengo said Yamashita told reporters at a news conference in Tokyo Monday that he chose now to step down because he felt it was the best time for the company.

Also Monday, Matsushita reported that its unconsolidated earnings, not include earnings of its foreign subsidiaries, rose 10 percent in the year ended Nov. 20 to 111.7 billion yen, or $550 million at the then-prevailing exchange rate of 203 yen to the dollar, from 101.9 billion yen in the previous fiscal year.

The company said the earnings improvement came on a 5 percent increase in sales, to 3.42 trillion yen or $16.9 billion, from 3.26 trillion yen the year earlier. It said the earnings grew in spite of a slowdown in the Japanese economy and slack exports to the United States.