Dentsu boss resigns after suicide of overworked employee


The boss of one of the world’s biggest and oldest communications holding groups Dentsu has announced he will resign next month just 24 hours after the company was referred to prosecutors in Japan over the suicide of an employee.

Dentsu chief executive Tadashi Ishii said in a press conference he felt “deep responsibility as a person for overseeing the management of the company”.

Matsuri Takahashi, 24, jumped to her death from a company dormitory on Christmas Day 2015 after telling friends on Twitter of enduring harassment and overwork.

According to The Japan Times, Ishii told a Tokyo press conference yesterday: “We deeply regret failing to prevent the overwork of our new recruit. I offer my sincere apology.”

The press conference was held after the labor ministry referred Dentsu to prosecutors on suspicion of forcing Takahashi, who joined the company in April 2015, to work and underreport illegally long hours.

Shortly before ending her life, Takahashi told friends on twitter: “They’re making me work Saturdays and Sundays again. I seriously want to end it all.”

She had worked more than 100 hours overtime in one month.

A Tokyo labour department ruling in October concluded that she had suffered mental collapse due to the burden of overwork.

The Tokyo labor standards inspection office also recognised her suicide as a case of karoshi, the Japanese word for death from overwork.

Reports said Ishii will tender his resignation at a Dentsu board meeting next month but stay in the role until March.

Dentsu has yet to issue a formal announcement.

Takahashi’s death came three years after a young creative in Indonesia died allegedly as a result of overwork, and an account executive in China, also 24 years of age, passed over six months prior after suffering from a stress-related heart attack after working long hours continually for a month.

In Australia, Dentsu agencies include media agencies Carat and Vizeum and creative agencies BWM and With Collective.


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