Olympus chairman quits amid takeover scandal

Kikukawa resigns after attacking former boss Michael Woodford for revealing fees to advisers

The chairman of Olympus resigned yesterday as the company tried to draw a line under damaging allegations raised by its ousted chief executive, Michael Woodford. Yet the Briton warned the choice of successor would "just make things worse".

Now another regulator has launched an investigation into the precision equipment and camera maker's takeover activity, this time in its home market. Three of Olympus's largest shareholders have already called for an independent committee to scrutinise the $687m (£431m)in fees paid to a financial adviser on its purchase of the British medical group Gyrus. The fees, which are usually about 1 per cent of a transaction, were equivalent to a third of the deal price.

The Japanese company said that Tsuyoshi Kikukawa had quit as chairman, chief executive and president after a board meeting yesterday morning, although he will stay on as a director. His departure was prompted by stakeholder concerns over "the recent series of media reports and fall in the stock price", the company said.

Shuichi Takayama, who was already on the board and joined Olympus in 1970, was appointed representative director and president in Mr Kikukawa's place.

Mr Woodford told The Independent that the latest twist was "bizarre", adding: "Kikukawa has stepped down for an existing board member who sees nothing wrong with the huge fees paid to the advisers on the Gyrus deal. This is just making a bad situation worse."

He said the decision to appoint Mr Takayama "insulted the intelligence" of those calling for change and that it was a "ludicrous way to manage a major corporation". The company needed to"bring in a genuine outsider to replace Kikukawa, or reappoint myself," Mr Woodford added. "The appointment of a board member at the top does not take out the heat from the situation." He has previously pledged to return if the entire board is ousted.

Olympus's share price tumbled by a further 10 per cent yesterday after gaining 8 per cent on Tuesday. More than half of the value of the company has been lost since Mr Woodford, its first foreign boss, was fired less than a fortnight ago. The axe fell just two weeks into his reign as chief executive and eight months after he was named president.

Olympus's board said there had been a culture clash. But Mr Woodford denies there was any such issue, instead claiming that he was fired after raising "serious governance concerns" about four transactions, including the Gyrus deal. The questions over the deals have prompted speculation that Japanese organised crime syndicates could be involved. Mr Takayama yesterday denied that Olympus's advisers had any connection to such "anti-social forces", saying: "I am absolutely not aware of any such thing."

Now the Japanese Securities and Exchange Surveillance Commission is scrutinising the deals, and deciding whether Olympus made adequate financial disclosures. The US FBI has already started checking the Gyrus deal.

Mr Woodford has also passed documents, including emails and an independent review of the fees, to the Serious Fraud Office in London.

Mr Woodford said: "These latest events will just damage the company further and create a lack of confidence among investors. This needs to be sorted out quickly. The future of the employees needs to be safeguarded."

Sport
Alexis Sanchez has completed a £35m move to Arsenal, the club have confirmed
sportGunners complete £35m signing of Barcelona forward
Voices
Poor teachers should be fearful of not getting pay rises or losing their job if they fail to perform, Steve Fairclough, headteacher of Abbotsholme School, suggested
voicesChris Sloggett explains why it has become an impossible career path
Sport
world cup 2014
Sport
Ray Whelan was arrested earlier this week
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
In a minor key: Keira Knightley in the lightweight 'Begin Again'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Celebrated children’s author Allan Ahlberg, best known for Each Peach Pear Plum
books
News
peopleIndian actress known as the 'Grand Old Lady of Bollywood' was 102
News
Wayne’s estate faces a claim for alleged copyright breaches
newsJohn Wayne's heirs duke it out with university over use of the late film star's nickname
Life and Style
It beggars belief: the homeless and hungry are weary, tortured, ghosts of people – with bodies contorted by imperceptible pain
lifeRough sleepers exist in every city. Hear the stories of those whose luck has run out
News
Mick Jagger performing at Glastonbury
people
Life and Style
fashionJ Crew introduces triple zero size to meet the Asia market demand
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Sport
Santi Cazorla, Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini of Arsenal launch the new Puma Arsenal kits at the Puma Store on Carnaby Street
sportMassive deal worth £150m over the next five years
Arts and Entertainment
Welsh opera singer Katherine Jenkins
musicHolyrood MPs 'staggered' at lack of Scottish artists performing
Life and Style
beautyBelgian fan lands L'Oreal campaign after being spotted at World Cup
Arts and Entertainment
Currently there is nothing to prevent all-male or all-female couples from competing against mixed sex partners at any of the country’s ballroom dancing events
Potential ban on same-sex partners in ballroom dancing competitions amounts to 'illegal discrimination'
News
business
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Business Analyst Consultant (Financial Services)

£60000 - £75000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Business Analyst Consultant (Fina...

Systems Administrator - Linux / Unix / Windows / TCP/IP / SAN

£60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A leading provider in investment managemen...

AVS, JVS Openlink Endur Developer

£600 - £700 per day: Harrington Starr: AVS, JVS Openlink Endur Developer JVS, ...

Technical Support Analyst (C++, Windows, Linux, Perl, Graduate)

£30000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A global leader in trading platforms and e...

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice