Takata chairman drops out of sight amidst airbag crisis

The problems plaguing automotive supplier Takata this year for its faulty airbag inflators are starting to take their toll. Not only do an estimated 7.8 million vehicles need repairs, but it's facing an investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. A recent report also alleges that hidden attempts to fix the problem date back to as early as 2004. With all of this turmoil you might expect Takata's chairman, Shigehisa Takada, to be righting the ship, but the man is no where to be seen while the corporation his grandfather founded goes through these choppy waters.

The absence is reportedly spooking investors. According to The Japan Times, Takada is sending the company's chief financial officer in his place for an upcoming analyst briefing. The chairman also hasn't appeared publicly since June, and even that was at a shareholders' meeting closed to the media. His only published statement stated that Takata would cooperate with regulators to investigate the problem with exploding airbag inflators.

The safety crisis is having financial implications too. According to The Japan Times, Takata's market value is already down 63 percent for the year, and the share price is at a five-year low. Analysts believe that the best way for the company to weather this storm is for Takada to be more public about rectifying the problem.

It seems that the chairman's attitude is hurting the family business. Takada's grandfather started the company in 1933, and his father also served as chairman. Today, Takada and his mother personally hold about five percent of the business's stock, according to The Japan Times, citing Bloomberg. Without action soon, there might not be much of a legacy left in the future.

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