Takata CEO to brief media for first time since air bag recall crisis

A sign with the Takata logo is seen on the building of the Takata Corporation in Auburn Hills, Michigan on May 20, 2015.
A sign with the Takata logo is seen on the building of the Takata Corporation in Auburn Hills, Michigan on May 20, 2015.PHOTO: REUTERS

TOKYO (REUTERS) - Japan's Takata Corp will on Thursday brief on the status of its massive recalls that seek to fix potentially deadly air bags, in the first news conference to be attended by CEO Shigehisa Takada since the crisis erupted.

The briefing will follow Takata's annual shareholder's meeting. Takada, grandson of the company's founder, has not held a news conference since Takata's exploding air bag inflators became the subject of a regulatory investigation in the United States last year. His previous formal public appearance was last year's closed-door shareholders' meeting.

The inflators have been linked to eight deaths and more than 100 injuries so far. They have the potential to explode with too much force and spray metal fragments into vehicle occupants.

The news conference will be held at 4:30 p.m. (3:30 p.m. in Singapore) in Tokyo. Chief Financial Officer Yoichiro Nomura and Senior Vice President Hiroshi Shimizu will also attend, the company said. Shimizu, who is in charge of quality issues, represented Takata at U.S. congressional hearings in December.

Since the last shareholders' meeting, Takata's safety crisis has escalated into the biggest recall in automotive history involving tens of millions of vehicles around the world.

U.S. lawmakers this week raised the possibility that Takata put profits before safety in a way that contributed to the air bag recalls. Takata has disputed the finding.

Takata's shares have fallen about 40 per cent in the past year.