Kobe Steel names new CEO after fake data scandal

Hiroya Kawasaki, center, bows during a press conference after announcing his resignation as president and chief executive of Kobe Steel over a scandal that surfaced last year involving massive falsification of data from inspections of the company's products. (AFP)
Updated 09 March 2018
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Kobe Steel names new CEO after fake data scandal

TOKYO: Japanese steelmaker Kobe Steel named a new CEO on Friday and pledged “fundamental reforms” in the wake of a scandal over fake strength and quality data it submitted to clients.
The firm said its board had appointed Mitsugu Yamaguchi, currently Kobe Steel’s executive vice president, to the top role left empty after Hiroya Kawasaki stepped down on Tuesday.
“Under a new structure in the coming future, Kobe Steel intends to fulfil its responsibilities ... along with restoring the trust of everyone as quickly as possible,” the company said in a statement.
“Kobe Steel will move forward with fundamental reforms to the organization and its corporate culture.”
Kawasaki, who had been in the role since 2013, stepped down on Tuesday as a long-awaited report into the scandal revealed the data falsification was more widespread that initially thought.
It said false strength and quality data had been submitted for products sold to hundreds of clients worldwide.
The products affected by the scandal included steel wires used in car engines and tires, as well as aluminum used to manufacture Japan’s famous bullet trains.
The firm, founded in 1905, has been at pains to stress there are no safety issues arising from the fake data.
The revelations were a new blow to the reputation of Japan Inc. after similar quality-control scandals hit industrial titans ranging from carmaker Nissan to Mitsubishi Materials.
Kobe Steel has vowed to overhaul its compliance procedures and internal structures, ensuring a third of the board are independent outside directors.
All company directors will have their pay docked by between 10 and 50 percent for a period ranging from one to four months.


Apple’s Cook to China: keep opening for sake of global economy

Updated 17 min 36 sec ago
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Apple’s Cook to China: keep opening for sake of global economy

  • Cook’s comments come as Apple weathers sinking sales in China
  • Despite official pledges and repeated assurances that China would continue to open its markets

BEIJING: Apple chief executive Tim Cook nudged China on Saturday to open up and said the future would depend on global collaboration, as the United States and China remained locked in a bitter trade dispute.
“We encourage China to continue to open up, we see that as essential, not only for China to reach its full potential, but for the global economy to thrive,” Cook said at a China Development Forum in Beijing.
Despite official pledges and repeated assurances that China would continue to open its markets, some analysts worry that its reform project has slowed or even stalled under President Xi Jinping, who has sought greater control over the economy and a bigger role for state-owned firms at the expense of the private sector.
Cook’s comments come as Apple weathers sinking sales in China because of a contracting smartphone market, increasing pressure from Chinese rivals, and slowing upgrade cycles. The company reported a revenue drop of 26 percent in the greater China region during the quarter ending in December.
Before those results came out, in a January letter to investors, Cook blamed the company’s poor China performance on trade tension between the United States and China, suggesting that pressure on the economy was hurting sales in China.