Toshiba blames woes on former CEO’s ‘confrontational approach’ to shareholders


FILE PHOTO: The logo of Toshiba Corp. is seen at the company’s facility in Kawasaki, Japan June 10, 2021. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

June 14, 2021

By Makiko Yamazaki

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s Toshiba Corp on Monday blamed its former chief executive for fomenting a “confrontational approach” to shareholders, citing that as underlying factor in its widening governance crisis.

The comment from Osamu Nagayama, the chairman of Toshiba’s board, comes after a shareholder-commissioned investigation revealed the company colluded with the Japanese government to “beat up” foreign shareholders.

One shareholder has described the scandal as the biggest corporate scandal in a decade.

Nagayama, who apologised to shareholders, also told a news conference broadcast online that it will hold an emergency general meeting to appoint new board members and wants to include two foreigners among the group of directors who will carry out a strategic review.

“There was a somewhat confrontational stance towards shareholders brewing from some time ago,” Nagayama said, when asked about the responsibility of former CEO Nobuaki Kurumatani.

“That’s an underlying cause in one sense for the current state of affairs,” Nagayama said.

It was not immediately clear if that admission would be enough to win over shareholders.

The crisis at Toshiba has renewed concern about governance in the world’s third-largest economy and its openness to foreign investors. (This story corrects fourth paragraph to say two foreigners will be included in strategic review, not two new foreigners on board)

(Reporting by Makiko Yamazaki; Writing by David Dolan; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)

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