Sunday, November 30, 2014

Akiko Takada, CEO's mother, reported to be dominant person in Takata

Mama Takada yells at son, presumably for losing $900 million.

Hats off to Reuters for fabulous reporting on the Takata airbag defects, especially Norihiko Shirouzu, the reporter who wrote today's installment of this unfolding tragic saga.
Today's article gets into the company's nitty-gritty inside story. There are some chilling parallels to what seemed to have happened inside Toyota during its own crisis.

Takata has yielded quite a few whistleblowers. More than Toyota. Maybe Takata's whistleblowers think the company's future is in doubt, or they want to talk for some good reason, like to save lives. 

"BIG WIFE"[Shigehisa Takada's] mother Akiko, a former Takata executive, now heads the non-profit Takata Foundation, but remains vocal as a special adviser to the company. Some managers call her "O-okusan", or "big wife", underscoring her influence, while Shigehisa is referred to as "the son", or "Shige-chan" - a familiar, short form of his name with a suffix normally reserved for children."In a business situation, she could be very forceful and tries to impose her way in just about every way possible," said one of Shigehisa's business associates who has worked with Akiko on a project. Two of the three associates recalled how she once engaged in a tit-for-tat negative campaign with a rival."Imagine being her son and trying to exercise leadership with her buzzing around you," the person said. "He's paralyzed to make decisions on his own."

Takada is also under pressure from big automaker clients such as Honda Motor and Toyota Motor which try to control and influence how Takata deals with the recalls, two of the business associates said. Also, external legal advisers hired in the United States have focused on minimizing potential court damage rather than on repairing a battered public image.The business associates said the lawyers restrict what Takada and other executives say and do publicly.
Takata, which has around 43,000 employees globally, has seen its market value slump almost 60 percent this year to just above $900 million.In one recent incident, Shigehisa went "missing for a few hours" from Takata's Tokyo headquarters after a row with his mother, said one person familiar with the matter."He was yelled at by his mother and went missing. Nobody knows where he went. He came back after a few hours," the person said."

Questions: Why is Mama Takada's money more important than the lives of the company's end customers? 
And how is Toyota influencing Takata--to maximize recalls, or to minimize them?