Toshiba’s CEO resigned on Tuesday, the Japanese conglomerate said, adding fresh uncertainty after already revising plans to split its businesses and just weeks before a key shareholder vote.
Satoshi Tsunakawa had been 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 shareholder vote on March 24 on Toshiba’s plan to spin off its devices unit and sell “non-core” business including Toshiba Tec.
The proposal is a revision of an earlier one to split into three companies, which got a mixed response, but Tsunakawa’s resignation could spark another rethink on the plans.
Toshiba said its new CEO Taro Shimada would “lead the company that will run 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 chair of the board of directors, Toshiba said in a statement.
The sprawling conglomerate dates back to 1875 and was once a symbol of Japan’s advanced technological and economic power, but it has been mired in turmoil in recent years.
Having staged a recovery after a series of scandals and financial problems in the 2010s, it returned to the first section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange last year.
But a takeover offer from private equity fund CVC Capital Partners stirred tumult within the firm around allegations it was intended to blunt 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 not related to the buyout controversy.
Then in June, Toshiba shareholders voted to oust the board’s chairman after an inquiry found that the company “devised a plan to effectively prevent shareholders from exercising their shareholder proposal rights and voting rights” at a meeting the previous year.