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Toshiba Looks Outside Company to Change Culture

Aug. 18, 2015
With a fiscal year net loss in the books, Toshiba turns to a group of respected Japanese business leaders to overhaul its sullied corporate culture.

TOKYO — Toshiba announced Tuesday that it will book a net loss for the last fiscal year, as it scrambles to revise its financial records to account for a billion dollar accounting scandal.

The company also announced that it would appoint a host of renowned Japanese business people as outside directors in a management overhaul to improve its corporate culture, in which high-handed bosses routinely pressured their subordinates to inflate profits.

Toshiba said it expected to log a net loss for fiscal 2014, which ended in March, although it was not able to provide an exact figure. The company also said it expected to report annual sales of 6.66 trillion yen ($53.60 billion) and an operating profit of 170 billion yen ($1.37 billion) for that year.

In a bid to beef up its corporate governance, the company also announced it would expand the number of outside directors from four to seven, including a former supreme court justice, along with a number of well-known business leaders from other major firms.

The vast 140-year-old conglomerate has been hammered by revelations that top executives pressured underlings to systematically inflate profits by about $1.2 billion since the 2008 global financial crisis.

One of the most damaging accounting scandals to hit Japan in recent years, the case prompted an incumbent president and seven other top executives to resign last month after a company-hired panel found top management complicit in a years-long scheme to pad profits.

Toshiba will hold an extraordinary shareholders meeting in September to discuss the new board members, as well as its plans to improve its corporate culture.

Best known for its televisions and electronics, including the world's first laptop personal computer and DVD player, Toshiba has more than 200,000 employees globally and also operates in power transmission and medical equipment.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2015

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