LIXIL is the most comprehensive and connected global company in the housing and building industry, delivering human-centric innovation that enhances people's living spaces.
The strength of our corporate governance was put to the test during 2015, which was a grave year for LIXIL. During the spring we discovered unforeseen accounting irregularities at a Chinese subsidiary that had only just been consolidated. Supporting the executive team as they made every effort to get to the root of the matter and determine necessary remedial measures, the board of directors, through the leadership of the Audit Committee, also launched an investigation committee independent of the executive team and finalized its report on the investigation during the fall. Based on this report, we have clarified responsibilities and measures to prevent a recurrence of such issues.
Separately, the Nomination Committee has been considering the next phase of leadership for approximately the past two years. Over the last five years under the leadership of Yoshiaki Fujimori, LIXIL Group has grown to be an energetic and diverse global firm with over 80,000 employees working in over 150 countries, and incorporating GE-style personnel training and development. In today's fast-moving world, however, corporations must constantly evolve. Kinya Seto has joined us from January, and we look forward to his leadership in bringing a fresh entrepreneurial spirit to the now-large LIXIL, strengthening the unification of the Group and the many brands that we own, and developing a new business model that takes advantages of the latest information technologies.
Of the twelve directors who comprise our board, five are independent outside directors (two of whom are female), with a great deal of experience and selected from diverse backgrounds. Our Nomination, Compensation and Audit committees' decisions are made from unbiased and independent standpoint, through the leadership of independent outside directors.
We have already implemented many of the principles of Japan's Corporate Governance Code that was launched in June 2015, and by establishing the LIXIL Group Corporate Governance Guidelines in December 2015, we plan to adhere to all principles going forward.
I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to our shareholders for their continued support.
Chairman of the Board