With over 24 million cars recalled (some 17 million of them in the United States alone) and at least five deaths reported, someone at Takata was always going to have to take the blame for its defective airbags. And now it appears that the blame will fall on Stefan Stocker.

The Japanese company's first foreign-born president, Swiss native Stocker joined Takata early in 2013 after a career at Bosch. Stocker was named president of Takata only months later, assuming the role from Shigehisa Takada, the founder's grandson who remained the company's chairman and CEO. But according to the latest report, Stocker is now stepping down from the presidency – voluntarily or otherwise – returning control of the company to Takada-san, whose family still holds controlling interest in the company. Stocker will, however, reportedly remain on the company's board.

Whether Stocker's resignation will be enough to alleviate public concerns about Takata's airbags remains to be seen, but the company is taking other measures as well. For starters, Takada, Stocker and three other senior executives will take pay cuts for four months. The company has also enlisted the services of several high-ranking former US government officials - chief among them Samuel K. Skinner, the former US Secretary of Transportation and White House Chief of Staff, who will chair Takata's new Quality Assurance Panel. Along with Skinner, Takata has named former US transportation secretaries Rodney Slater and Norman Mineta as special counsels to the company.

Share This Photo X