TOKYO – Japan’s Kobe Steel announced on Tuesday that its CEO and chairman Hiroya Kawasaki will resign, following a data falsification scandal last year that affected more than 500 companies worldwide.
Along with Kawasaki, 63, executive vice-president Akira Kaneko – in-charge of the worst-hit aluminum and copper business – is also set to resign.
Apart from the resignations – to take effect on April 1 –, the company also announced the dismissal of the CEOs of Kobelco & Materials Copper Tube and Shinko Metal Products – subsidiaries involved in the scandal – and two other executives.
The leadership change comes on a day when Kobe Steel published the results of an external investigation initiated in October, when the data fraud had come to light.
The fraud had included rewriting internal inspection certificates by changing or inventing data without testing to show that products had met required specifications.
The third biggest steel maker in Japan said on Tuesday that some of the employees, including two top officials, were aware of the practice but did not take any measure to end it.
The compromised products were dispatched to companies around the world, including Japanese carmakers Nissan, Honda, Mazda and Toyota, US car makers General Motors and Ford, and a number of companies from different sectors such as aeronautics, railways and military equipment.