Japan’s third-largest steelmaker had admitted to supplying products with falsified specifications
Japan’s third-largest steelmaker, Kobe Steel Ltd, said today that its CEO will step down on April 1 to take responsibility for the scandal wherein the firm submitted false strength and quality data for products shipped to hundreds of clients worldwide.
Kobe Steel had admitted last year to supplying products with falsified specifications to about 500 customers, throwing global supply chains into turmoil. The investigation also found that staff, including in some cases executives, changed inspection data, or made up data, before shipping their products.
This incident came as a huge embarrassment for Japan, which prides itself on its discipline, craftsmanship and attention to detail.
Hiroya Kawasaki told reporters today: “As I think it’s best to go ahead quickly with reforms under new members, I … will step down from president on April 1 this year. We have caused trouble to many people. As soon as we can, we would like as many people as possible to think that Kobe Steel has changed.
“I’m really sorry.”
Kawasaki’s successor will be decided at a board meeting “in the near future”.
Kobe Steel also announced temporary pay cuts of up to 80 percent for all internal executive officers.