Takata Corp. has tapped the services of public relations firm Sard Verbinnen & Co. to handle its communications while the issue of suspected faulty airbag inflators remains very hot. With the hiring of Sard Verbinnen by Takata brings out the question whether its chief executive, Shigehisa Takada will publicly speak on the issue, Scott Upham, president of Valient Market Research, told Reuters.
While Takada apologized to shareholders at the company’s annual meeting in June, he has not been seen in public. Sard Verbinnen is a financial communications firm famous for working on some of the biggest mergers and acquisitions in the United States, like the recently announced $8.7-billion leveraged buyout of PetSmart Inc.
Sard Verbinnen also counts former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. banker Fabrice Tourre, who was accused of defrauding mortgage investors, as one of its clients.
Takata is currently facing a heavy fallout from the airbag crisis, which has already prompted around a dozen carmakers to recall more than 20 million vehicles fitted with the possibly defective safety device.
The inflators have been linked to at least five deaths, four of which were in the United States and involve Honda vehicles. Honda is Takata’s largest customer and has recalled 13.4 million cars mostly in the US.