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Takata President Steps Down Amid Ongoing Scandal

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On: Fri, Dec 26, 2014 at 2:58PM | By: Carl Malek

Takata President Steps Down Amid Ongoing Scandal

In a move that many saw as inevitable, Takata president Stefan Stocker has officially stepped down as president, handing the posisition back to the grandson of company founder and current chairman Shigehisa Takada.

According to a report from Reuters, while Stocker (the company's first non-japanese president) has stepped down from company presidency, he will still be involved in company affairs albeit as a member of the company's board. Ironically most of the criticism and backlash that has been unleashed as of late was not aimed at Stocker or his reign directly, but rather at Takada after both executives spent many months avoiding public appearances as the full magnitude of the airbag inflator debacle was exposed by U.S. federal investigators.

In addition, the company is still in the hotseat and is the focus of multiple probes here in the U.S. especially one that explores the possibility of a coverup when the recall first was made. This situation was reported by former employees, and if proven true could lead to serious financial penalties for the troubled automotive supplier. As a bonus, the findings of a coverup could also provide ammunition to the large number of lawsuits that have been filed since the airbag recall first began.

The recall in question centers around the inflators in the airbag assemblies of the affected units which caused the airbags to explode with too much force, sending shrapnel and other debris into the cabin injuring occupants in the process. As a result , many major automotive manufacturers have already issued separate recall campaigns of their own with some of them actually expanding the recall nationwide versus the current Takata-mandated recall for vehicles that are only in hot or humid climates.

The resignation seems to be part of an overall re-organization of management at Takata. Takada will take a temporary pay cut of 50%; Stocker and three other senior executives will also take temporary pay cuts.

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