Toshiba chief steps down over accounting scandal

Tokyo: Hisao Tanaka, chief executive officer and president of Japanese electronics giant Toshiba, resigned on Tuesday after the company was found to have overstated its profits for the past six years.

His predecessors Norio Sasaki and Atsutoshi Nishida also stepped down as vice chairman and advisor, respectively, the company said.

The company's chairman Masashi Muromatchi will take over as president, a news agency reported.

The move follows a report by an independent panel accusing Toshiba's top management of systematic involvement in irregularities on the firm's balance sheet.

The panel submitted a report to the company on Monday asserting that top management intended to pad profits and delay reporting losses, Japan's NHK news portal reported.

"It has been revealed that there has been inappropriate accounting going on for a long time, and we deeply apologise for causing this serious trouble for shareholders and other stakeholders," the company said in a statement.

"Because of this, Hisao Tanaka, our company president, and Norio Sasaki, our company's vice chairman will resign today (Tuesday)," the statement said.

Tanaka, 64, served as the CEO since June 2013 and president since June 2009.

"I apologise to all stakeholders, including shareholders," Tanaka said at a press conference after his resignation was announced.

Sasaki was vice president from 2009 to 2013. He has also served as the government's economic and fiscal policy advisor, and vice chairman of Keidanren, or the Japan Business Federation.

Nishida served as president from 2005 to 2009. He was a key figure in Toshiba's purchase of US nuclear plant manufacturer Westinghouse.

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