Toshiba shareholders on Friday rejected a motion to renew the tenure of Osamu Nagayama, the chairman of the conglomerate, and another director, Nobuyuki Kobayashi, after calls for the former to resign amid a new scandal.
An independent investigation, released on June 10, found that Toshiba’s management had worked in concert with Japan’s Ministry of Commerce to prevent foreign investors from exerting influence on the board.
For many experts, the result of the conglomerate’s annual general meeting constitutes a new turning point in its governance, the evictions of members of the board of directors of Japanese companies, especially in groups known as Toshiba, sporadic.
“This result signals a paradigm shift in Japan and will be a source of encouragement for activist investors, both foreign and Japanese,” comments Justin Tang, Asia Studies Manager at United First Partners, based in Singapore.
Osamu Nagayama supporters believe, however, that the non-renewal of the mandate of the now ex-president of Toshiba will only contribute to weakening the conglomerate, which has experienced several crises, including an accounting scandal in 2015.
The detailed result of the vote was not communicated. Newly elected directors met on Friday to choose who will chair the new board.
The Japanese government has not reached for the moment after the results of this general assembly.
Toshiba, which manufactures defense equipment and nuclear reactors, is a strategic company for the Japanese state.
Hiroshi Kajiyama, the Minister of Commerce, did not apologize after the results of the independent investigation of June 10 involving his ministry, believing that the policies implemented then were “natural”.
“In general, the hope is that corporate governance can be improved through discussions with shareholders and at the same time, we are working to ensure the stability of the development of companies and technologies that are important from the point of view. national security,” he said at a press conference ahead of Toshiba’s general assembly.
Osamu Nagayama’s ouster could allow activist investors to pressure the new management to consider takeover offers from the group.
CVC Capital Partners has offered Toshiba a takeover bid for $ 20 billion (€ 16.7 billion).
According to the Financial Times, private equity giant KKR is also considering buying Toshiba for an amount more significant than that offered by CVC.
Canadian Brookfield Asse Management is also studying the possibility of making an offer, according to Bloomberg.