Subaru is changing up its top executives in the midst of an emissions and fuel-economy scandal that has rocked the company.
The Japanese automaker’s current president and CEO Yasuyuki Yoshinaga is moving over to the role of chairman. That much was to be expected, but he was anticipated to retain the role of CEO in the process. Instead, the titles of president and CEO will now fall to Tomomi Nakamura (pictured above), currently a executive vice president and head of the American division, who was slated to become global COO.Along with the shift in senior management, Subaru announced an internal investigation into "nonconforming conduct" at its Gunma and Yajima plants in Japan, following discoveries that employees there had misreported the emissions and fuel-economy figures to local authorities."The company is treating this matter with the utmost seriousness. At present, we have not yet completed a full inquiry into the specific conduct, including the causes, background and motivations of such conduct. As a matter of urgency, a thorough re-investigation will be carried out by external specialists," stated Subaru. "Based on the results of the investigation into these issues, we will conduct a review of the company’s practices and, based on the findings of such review, implement appropriate measures to prevent any recurrence of these issues."The issue is believed to be limited to Japanese domestic models, since the falsification was made to Japanese authorities. The problem stretches back five years, and is estimated to affect some 1,551 examples of the Impreza, Outback, and Forester. That may not seem like much, but it’s considerably more than the 903 vehicles it reported earlier.What’s interesting in the executive shift is that Yoshinaga is not being blamed for the scandal. Instead he will ostensibly lead its investigation. The new chairman will retain responsibility for compliance and quality control, while handing most other responsibilities to Nakamura. These and several changes to the board of directors will be put to a vote by the shareholders on June 22.