Tokyo, Japan: Toshiba’s CEO resigned on Tuesday, the Japanese conglomerate said, adding new uncertainty after plans to split its companies had already been revised and just weeks before a key shareholder vote.
Satoshi Tsunakawa was chief executive for less than a year at the tech and industrial giant, which has lurched from crisis to crisis in recent decades.
It comes ahead of an extraordinary March 24 shareholder vote on Toshiba’s plan to spin off its appliance unit and sell “non-core assets,” including Toshiba Tec.
The proposal is a revision of an earlier one to split into three companies, which met with mixed reactions, but Tsunakawa’s resignation could lead to another reconsideration of the plans.
Toshiba said its new CEO Taro Shimada “will lead the company that will lead the energy and infrastructure business” after the electronic devices segment is spun off in a binding resolution to be voted on in 2023.
Tsunakawa will continue to serve as interim chairman of the board, Toshiba said in a statement.
Dating back to 1875, the sprawling conglomerate was once a symbol of Japan’s advanced technological and economic might, but it has been in turmoil in recent years.
After recovering from a series of scandals and financial troubles in the 2010s, it returned to the first section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange last year.
But a takeover bid from private equity fund CVC Capital Partners has sparked a stir within the company over allegations that it was designed to soften the influence of activist investors.
Tsunakawa’s predecessor Nobuaki Kurumatani, who previously worked for CVC, resigned as CEO in April 2021, insisting his decision was unrelated to the controversy over the acquisition.
In June, Toshiba shareholders voted to impeach the chairman of the board after an investigation found that the company had “devised a plan to effectively prevent shareholders from exercising their shareholder proposal and voting rights” at a meeting of the preceding year.