Japan’s ailing company Toshiba proposes external directors for its board of directors

TOKYO – Troubled Japanese tech giant Toshiba on Thursday announced some additions to its proposed leadership ahead of a shareholders’ meeting next month.

Toshiba Corp. said it is looking to add outside directors to the board such as Nabeel Bhanji, an executive at Elliott Opportunity II Corp., which manages acquisitions and investments, and Eijiro Imai, a former executive at Farallon Capital Management, a U.S. investment firm .

Also proposed for the board is Akihiro Watanabe, an executive at Houlihan Lockey, a US investment bank.

Tokyo-based Toshiba has been trying to win shareholders over for a restructuring plan.

Earlier this year, Taro Shimada, an executive officer and senior vice president of the company, was selected to succeed Satoshi Tsunakawa as chief executive.

Shimada was an executive at Siemens, both in Japan and the US, before joining Toshiba in 2018 and working in the digital space.

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In February, Toshiba proposed to split into two companies, one focused on infrastructure and the other on devices. That was rejected in March.

Some shareholders, including foreign investment funds and US-based voting rights advisory firm Institutional Shareholders Services, opposed the plan.

An earlier plan, which was also discarded, called for a tripartition. Toshiba management had defended the plan proposed in February as less costly.

The recent proposal for revised leadership, including the appointment of Shimada as CEO, is yet to be approved by shareholders.

Toshiba has struggled since the Fukushima nuclear disaster in March 2011. A tsunami melted three reactors and spewed radiation across an area that is still partially a restricted zone. Toshiba is involved in the decommissioning effort, which will last for decades.

The company’s reputation was also tarnished by an accounting scandal that saw books tampered with for years.

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Last year, Nobuaki Kurumatani abruptly resigned as President of Toshiba. Kurumatani led global fund CVC Capital Partners’ Japan operations before joining Toshiba in 2018.

Kurumatani was replaced by Tsunakawa, a Toshiba veteran who has served as chief executive since 2016.

Founded in 1875, Toshiba was a respected brand among Japanese consumers for products such as electric rice cookers and laptops. It sold its valuable flash memory business when its fortunes plummeted.

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Yuri Kageyama is on Twitter https://twitter.com/yurikageyama

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https://www.local10.com/business/2022/05/26/japans-troubled-toshiba-proposes-outside-directors-to-board/ Japan’s ailing company Toshiba proposes external directors for its board of directors

Sarah Y. Kim

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