by Ian Burley
Michael Woodford's hirer and firer goes reluctantly
In a new twist to the epic Olympus Corporation boardroom scandal we reported on last week, Olympus Corp. Chairman, Tsuyoshi Kikukawa, who both appointed Michael Woodford to the positions of President and later CEO of Olympus and then sacked him after Woodford turned whistleblower, has today resigned, although he will continue as a non-executive director.
Two weeks ago then president and newly promoted CEO of Olympus, Michael Woodford, requested the resignations of Mr Kikukawa and vice president Mr.Mori because of massive unexplained expenditure linked to corporate acquisitions. Almost immediately, Woodford was dismissed although the Olympus board denied it was to do with the acquisitions issue, but to do with Woodford's management style.
Later, Kikukawa made some personal criticisms of Woodford, including suggesting that he didn't like Japan, and complained that while the company was in the middle of a cost-cutting exercise, Woodford was using a private jet to travel around Europe.
But the sheer gravity of the allegations made by Woodford have forced Kikukawa to resign as financial regulators in Japan, the UK and the USA, and even law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, start to probe the allegations. The Olympus share price in Tokyo has dropped to less than half its value of ten days ago.
Nevertheless, Kikukawa says he has only resigned because of the aftermath of his battle with Woodford and implies that he continues to feel that he and the Olympus board have done nothing wrong.
Meanwhile, Woodford says that if the current Olympus board is replaced and shareholders request him to return, he will accept a role to relaunch the company.
Ironically for FTU readers, the scandals that have been uncovered are entirely unrelated, as far as we know, to the camera division of Olympus.
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