Thursday, June 09, 2016
Japan has an executive culture in which CEOs take responsibility for bad things that happen on their watch. A CEO will step down when a negative event occurs unlike most CEOs in the West. In this case, the company was falsifying fuel economy tests. Did the CEO know? It's hard to say, but if he did, in the US he would be fighting civil and criminal charges. In this case, he vacated an office he held for decades and retreated to the chairmanship of the company. In other instances, Japanese CEOs have left their companies altogether. The recent deck-clearing at Volkswagen in Germany was unusual, but then so was the scandal that caused it. There, like most Western CEOs, the executive was embedded and it took an enormous failure to get him to leave. Meanwhile the board cleared itself of any responsibility for "diesel-gate." Maybe the West should learn a thing or two from the East when it comes to taking responsibility.