Takata to offer CEO exit over air bag safety scandal: sources

Thu Jan 28, 2016 1:10pm EST
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By Naomi Tajitsu and Maki Shiraki

TOKYO (Reuters) - Takata Corp 7312.T will tell Japanese carmakers on Friday that its chief executive is willing to resign to demonstrate that the company takes responsibility for the auto industry's biggest recall, two people close to the Japanese air bag maker said.

Pressure has been building on the Tokyo-based company for almost two years over defective air bags that can explode with excessive force and shoot shrapnel inside the car - a problem that has ballooned into a damaging safety scandal affecting nearly 50 million vehicles. The company said on Tuesday that an 11th death could be linked to a faulty air bag.

"There are plans for management reforms," said one of the individuals, adding this would involve expressing the willingness of Chairman and CEO Shigehisa Takada, the bookish grandson of the group's founder, and other executives, to resign.

He added Takata will present this step as part of its business plans at a meeting with automakers on Friday. The sources declined to say when Takada might step down or who is in line to replace him as head of the 83-year-old firm.

The company has not taken any formal decision on Takada's future and no successor has been designated, the sources said.

A Takata spokesman would not comment on whether the company was planning a change in management, or if Takada planned to take responsibility for the recalls.

REPORT   Continued...

Takata Corp Chief Executive Shigehisa Takada (C), flanked by Chief Financial Officer Yoichiro Nomura and Senior Vice President Hiroshi Shimizu (L), attends a news conference in Tokyo, Japan, June 25, 2015. REUTERS/Yuya Shino