Takata boss says he'll step down once 'new regime' is in place

Tue Jun 28, 2016 11:11am EDT
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By Maki Shiraki and Naomi Tajitsu

TOKYO (Reuters) - Takata Corp's chief executive said he will resign after a "new management regime" is found, finally bowing to calls for change so that the auto parts supplier can move ahead in dealing with a multi-billion dollar airbag recall.

Takata, one of the world's largest suppliers of auto safety equipment, has been searching for a financial backer to help it overhaul the business and carry ballooning costs.

The Japanese firm's airbag woes first emerged in 2008 but its troubles have grown over the past three years as fatalities linked to its inflators rose and recalls mounted to the point where some analysts have questioned its future.

CEO Shigehisa Takada - a quiet, bookish presence in contrast to his gregarious, hands-on father who previously led the company - is the first member of the founding family to take public responsibility. He apologized for the scandal last year, but has also defended the company's products.

"I am not clinging to this. My role is to make sure the company does not take a bad turn until there is a passing of the baton," he told an annual shareholders meeting, where he came under fire for failing to deal more effectively with the crisis.

News of his planned exit sent Takata's shares surging as much as 10 percent although they later pared gains to finish 2 percent higher.

At times barely audible when answering investor questions, Takada said details of the management changes would be determined by a third-party committee enlisted to oversee the company's restructuring.

That committee, which has brought in investment bank Lazard, said last month said it would reform governance and resolve cost issues surrounding the recall.   Continued...

Takata Corp Chief Executive Shigehisa Takada attends a news conference in Tokyo, Japan, June 25, 2015.   REUTERS/Yuya Shino/File Photo