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Family Business Roundup: Takata, H&M, and Sky

Third-gen Takata CEO and chairman forced to deny he is stepping down; Swedish family business H&M sees drop in gross profit margins; and James Murdoch returns as UK Sky chairman

Third-gen Takata CEO and chairman forced to deny he is stepping down

The third-generation CEO and chairman of Japanese family business Takata has had to confirm via the company that he will not be stepping down from the helm of the company in the midst of a product recall scandal.

The airbag maker is currently responsible for the largest auto recall in history, totaling 18 million vehicles since 2013 and attributed to at least 10 deaths. 

In an article published on Reuters this week, two anonymous sources were quoted as saying Shigehisa Takada would be taking responsibility for the recalls and stepping down as a result.

Takada has been criticized for the low profile he kept during the product recalls. Takada reportedly lives in the shadow of his late father, Juichiro, who was regarded as a legend in the industry and had a charismatic persona.

Swedish family business H&M sees drop in gross profit margins

The strong US dollar and heavy discounting has dented profits at family-controlled fast fashion brand H&M, the company has said in a statement.

Though sales and profits were up for the fourth year to SEK 48,694 million and SEK 27,997 million respectively, its gross profit margin dropped to 57.5% from 60.4% for the same period a year earlier. 

Group sales for the full year sat at SEK 210 billion, up 19%. Gross profit margin has dropped for the total year to 57% from 58.8%. 

Third-gen Karl-Johan Persson said: “We operate in an industry that is exposed to a lot of competition and are therefore constantly working to develop our customer offering within our different brands which are all based on the idea of giving customers the best combination of fashion, quality, price and sustainability – from each brand’s unique identity."

He continued: "Among other things, we are making substantial long-term investments in order to grasp the opportunities coming from the increased digitalisation.”

James Murdoch returns as UK Sky chairman

James Murdoch, the younger son of billionaire Rupert Murdoch, is set to return to Sky as chairman almost four years after he was forced to stand down. 

According to a Friday press release, Murdoch was the only candidate put forward by its nominations committee and the board unanimously approved his appointment.

The press release also revealed that first-half revenue at Sky rose 5% amid customer gains and demand for its web-based streaming service.

Murdoch chose to stand down as chairman of Sky in 2012 in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal at News International, where he had held the role of chairman.

Third-gen James Murdoch, the youngest of Rupert Murdoch’s children by his second wife Anna, is now seen as a natural successor to his father, Australia-born American billionaire Rupert Murdoch.

Sky posted revenues of £5.6 billion in 2015.

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