Toshiba chief executive Hisao Tanaka and his predecessor Norio Sasaki have left the company as one of Japan's best-known firms was hammered by a $1.2bn (€1.1bn) accounting scandal blamed on management's overzealous pursuit of profit.

The two men were among eight high-level executives at the sprawling conglomerate to take the fall, resigning after an independent report found senior management complicit in a years-long scheme to pad profits.

In a statement to investors Toshiba "deeply apologised" to its shareholders.

The overstatement was roughly triple an initial Toshiba estimate.

The probe could lead to a restatement of earnings, a board overhaul and potential action by regulators.

Shares in Toshiba soared more than 5% shortly after the opening bell this morning, following the revelation that the firm "systematically" its inflated profits.

They rose 5.04%, or 19.0 points, to 395.8 yen at the Tokyo Stock Exchange, after a team of investigators the firm hired reported years of accounting irregularities at the company.