It was just a matter of time before this happened. Takata president Stefan Stocker has reportedly stepped down amid the ongoing recall crisis surrounding defective air bags.
Stocker — the supplier’s first non-Japanese president — will still stay on the board, but the company’s grandson and current chairman, Shigehisa Takada, will takes on the added responsibilities, according to Reuters. The air bag supplier hired Stocker last year to increase the company’s oversight of its sprawling global operations.
More than 24 million cars have been recalled worldwide since 2008 over Takata’s faulty air bags, which can erupt with too much force and spray metal shards into cars. There have been at least five deaths related to Takata’s air bags. The prolonged safety crisis has prompted its third biggest client, General Motors to develop contingency plans to shift business to other air bag makers in case recalls widen.
The company currently faces federal investigations in the US, with former employees alleging a coverup that could lead to significant penalties if the claims prove accurate. Numerous lawsuits are also focused on the faulty airbags, which in some cases have exploded with enough force to send shrapnel flying through the vehicle cabin.
Recall campaigns from major automakers have already affected tens of millions of vehicles, with the possibility of further expanions as the investigations continue.