President of Air Bag-Maker Takata Steps Down Over Recalls

President of Air Bag-Maker Takata Steps Down Over Recalls

Japanese air-bag maker Takata Corp, which is involved in several recalls involving tens of millions of vehicles, announced on Wednesday, December 24th that its president and chief operating officer, Stefan Stocker, was resigning.

Shigehisa Takada, the company’s chairman and CEO and grandson of the company’s founder, will be taking over Stocker’s roles. Analysts noted the firm’s policy wasn’t likely to shift because Takada has already been taking a leading role in handling with the recalls.

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Stocker joined Takata from private auto parts supplier Robert Bosch as Takata’s first foreign president. Despite his resignation as president, he will, however, remain a member of the company’s board of directors.

Statement from Takata

“Mr. Stocker decided to resign due to personal reasons. He believes it is better for Takata to streamline its efforts to deal with the situation,” Takata spokesperson Watanabe said on Wednesday.

Temporary salary cuts

The company also announced also announced salary cuts for several executives. Takada’s monthly salary will be reduced by 50% and Stocker’s monthly salary will be cut by 30%, both for four months, the firm noted in a statement.

Details on the air bag recall

Over 24 million cars have been recalled globally since 2008 related to problems with Takata’s air bags, which can expand with excess force and injure or kill people with flying metal shards.

Five deaths have been connected to Takata’s faulty air bags so far, all in Honda cars. The ongoing crisis at Takata led major auto maker General Motors to come up with contingency plans to acquire the air bags it needs from other air bag makers if the Takata recalls expand.

Takata Corp, which is still majority owned by its founding family, has been criticized by regulatory agencies and consumer groups for its slow response to the situation, and the company is looking at several class action lawsuits as well as a criminal investigation in the U.S.

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