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£10m payout for Olympus boss sacked for whistleblowing


The former Olympus boss fired after blowing the whistle on an accounting scandal will receive a £10 million payout, it was confirmed today.

Michael Woodford, who lifted the lid on a £1 billion scandal, reached an 11th hour agreement with the Tokyo-based camera and medical equipment firm before a tribunal last month, but the size of his settlement was only revealed today.

The 51-year-old from London was dismissed in October after he questioned exorbitant fees for advice on buying British medical equipment maker Gyrus and other expensive acquisitions in 2008.

He sued his former employer for unlawful firing and discrimination after the rest of the board met without hearing from him and kicked him out.

The company has since admitted it hid 117.7 billion yen (£955 million) in investment losses dating back to the 1990s.

Mr Woodford said in a statement: "In today's settlement between myself and the company we reached a fair and amicable agreement, and I would like to take this opportunity to wish the new board well in taking Olympus forward.

"It is a wonderful company with wonderful products and people and has a bright future ahead of it."

Mr Woodford worked at the company for 30 years before becoming one of the few foreigners to lead a Japanese company.

In Japan, where whistleblowers and outspoken bosses are rare, he has been widely seen as a hero.

Mr Woodford initially ran a campaign to be reinstated as chief executive but has given up the fight for the sake of his wife. However, he has not ruled out returning to work in Japan.

Meanwhile, Olympus today announced a restructuring that will see it cut 2,700 jobs or 7% of its global workforce by the end of March 2014.

In addition, 40% of its 30 manufacturing plants around the world will be scrapped by March 2015 as part of cost-cutting plans.

It expects to scrape a profit of seven billion yen (£56.8 million) in the current year to the end of March, compared to a loss of 49 billion yen (£397.5 million) the previous year.