Fired Olympus boss set for showdown with directors

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The Independent Online

The former Olympus chief executive, Michael Woodford, will today come face-to-face with the board that ousted him and demand they all resign to prevent further damage to the firm.

The Briton, who was fired only two weeks after his appointment as chief executive of the precision equipment and camera maker, said: "I want to take the opportunity to look the directors in the eye and tell them what I think is best for the company."

He said the game was up, adding: "Do the decent thing; stop damaging the company. Don't look for self-interest, look for the 45,000 people.

"Have some shame, have some dignity, that's what I want to tell them."

Shuichi Takayama, the current president of Olympus, said the management team "will be ready to stand aside once Olympus is on track for recovery". Yet, it seemed unlikely that the whole board would be immediately replaced. The president said: "If we change the management in this situation, we cannot take a prompt action for the piled-up subjects, therefore we cannot overcome the imminent risk facing us."

He admitted that after the group revealed it had been hiding losses for decades, Olympus and its stakeholders were left "in confusion". Mr Takayama added that the company could "lose the credibility in the world at once".

Yesterday, several executives behind the move to oust Mr Woodford resigned fully from the Olympus. Tsuyoshi Kikukawa, former president and chairman, had quit last month but retained a position at the business, as did the vice-president Hisashi Mori, even though he was fired.

Olympus said it had received their resignation letters, as well as that of the corporate auditor, Hideo Yamada.

Mr Woodford flew into Japan on Wednesday for talks with the Tokyo Metropolitan Police, public prosecutors and the Securities and Exchange Surveillance Commission.

It was the first time he had returned to the country since he fled in fear for his safety after raising "serious governance concerns" about four transactions carried out by Olympus.

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