Toshiba’s (6502.T) chief executive Hisao Tanaka resigned at close of trade today along with a string of other senior management figures, after the company suffered the country’s biggest accounting scandal in years.

Tanaka will be replaced by Toshiba’s chairman, Masashi Muromachi, until a new chief executive is found.

The 152 billion yen scandal involved Toshiba overstating its profits over several years, overseen by figures in top management positions. Tanaka denied falsifying the accounts, but accepted the need to take responsibility for the findings.

“I see this as the most damaging event for our brand in the company’s 140-year history,” Tanaka told a news conference.

“I don’t think these problems can be overcome overnight.”

The report found that Tanaka had put pressure on staff to make unattainable targets, and knew they were overstating profits and delaying the reporting of losses. The Japanese finance minister, Taro Aso, spoke out about the need to come down hard on companies who fiddle their books, in order to avoid losing the market’s trust. Japan has been trying to demonstrate improved corporate governance after it was found in 2011 that Olympus, another of the country’s biggest companies, had hidden $1.7bn of losses over 13 years.


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