BUSINESS

Airbag maker Takata shuffles top managers to improve response to recall crisis

12/24/2014 05:57 EST | Updated 02/23/2015 05:59 EST
TOKYO - Takata Corp., the Japanese maker of airbags at the centre of massive recalls in the U.S. and elsewhere, apologized and said Wednesday that it was reshuffling its top executives, who plan to take pay cuts in response to the crisis.

Takata's president Stefan Stocker is moving aside to let its chairman, Shigehisa Takada, take over, the company said in a statement.

Stocker is remaining on Takata's board and the move is not intended to be a demotion, said company spokeswoman Akiko Watanabe.

The reorganization is meant "to centralize and speed up the decision-making process, and to step up handling" of the problem, she said.

The defective airbags can explode with too much force, spewing shrapnel at drivers and passengers. At least 10 automakers have models with Takata driver and passenger airbags, and tens of millions of vehicles may eventually be recalled.

Takata offered an apology to those killed or injured by its faulty airbags, saying it "takes seriously" the trouble it caused to many customers and their family members.

Takada, Stocker and three other top executives of the company will take pay cuts ranging from 20 per cent to 50 per cent, for four months. The pay cuts are in response to the company's huge losses and cancellation of dividend payments, Takata said.