The Japanese conglomerate Toshiba will now be helmed by its Chief Digital Officer Taro Shimada following the sudden departure of CEO Satoshi Tsunakawa.
Before his second albeit brief stint as CEO began in April of last year, Tsunakawa was the company’s chairman though he was first appointed to the role of chief executive officer back in 2016 before which, he was the head of its medical equipment division.
Despite Tsunakawa’s departure, new interim CEO Taro Shimada has said that the company will continue to pursue its current plan to split into two publicly traded companies. Originally, Toshiba had intended to split into three companies but this plan faced opposition from shareholders.
Although the Japanese conglomerate wants to break up into separate companies, many foreign hedge fund shareholders actually prefer a sale to a private equity firm instead. While Toshiba aims to continue with its revised plan, this move was also met with internal dissent according to two sources familiar with the matter that spoke with Reuters.
Breaking up Toshiba
One reason that shareholders aren’t too keen on Toshiba’s plan to sell off some of its units including its elevator business is that the move would leave the company with low-margin businesses.
When asked about internal opposition regarding its plans to break up its business, the company told Reuters that it believes its latest reorganization plan remains the best option for the company. Still though, the departure of Tsunakawa and board member Mamoru Hatazawa who previously pushed to split up the company, raise concerns over whether or not Toshiba will be able to successfully break up its business.
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Although Shimada was previously the firm’s Chief Digital Officer, he first joined the company back in 2018 after serving as an executive at Siemens AG. While Shimada will be the new interim CEO of Toshiba, the company said that the current head of its elevator business Goro Yanase will be appointed as the interim chief operating officer.
Despite the fact that Tsunakawa decided to once again serve as Toshiba’s CEO on an interim basis, the timing of of his departure was a surprise especially at a time when the company is trying to break up into two separate businesses.
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