Olympus investigator will fly in to meet Woodford

Big investors say the company is still notfully engaging with concerned shareholders

The campaign by the former Olympus chief executive Michael Woodford to expose a series of controversial transactions has forced a member of the investigating committee to fly to the UK for a meeting.

The camera and precision instruments maker faced further pressure from shareholders yesterday, as one manager called the independent committee a "smokescreen" and criticised its failure to engage with shareholders.

Eiji Katayama, one of the lawyers appointed by Olympus to the independent committee, is flying to London to interview Mr Woodford on 21 November. But Mr Woodford remains concerned about the independence of the board, saying: "I have reservations over the whole process."

Mr Woodford was fired two weeks into his reign as chief executive, despite having spent 30 years at the company, after he raised "serious governance concerns" over four deals. He was forced to leave Japan, saying he feared for his personal safety.

The events of the past month have prompted a procession of shareholders to demand clarity over the deals. The Edinburgh-based fund manager Baillie Gifford became the latest to weigh in yesterday.

The group invests in Olympus on behalf of clients who have combined holdings of more than 4 per cent. Its chief investment officer, Gerald Smith, said: "Olympus management seems to be using the establishment of the third-party committee as a smokescreen and an excuse not to engage with shareholders; this is unacceptable."

The company has tabled a series of questions to management which have yet to be answered. "This raises justified concerns about whether Olympus management is fit to continue in office," Mr Smith said, adding that Baillie Gifford would make direct contact with the chairman of the committee to highlight its key concerns.

This follows public criticism of the group from investors including Southeastern Asset Management, Nippon Life and Harris Associates. Baillie Gifford went one stop further than its peers in demanding an overhaul of the Olympus board, calling for a majority of independent directors. "These changes should be implemented without delay," it said.

The company's shares have tumbled since Mr Woodford's departure, and lost a further 7.5 per cent yesterday. The resignation of the chairman, Tsuyoshi Kikukawa, and the establishment of an independent inquiry have done little to stem the losses.

The deals in question are being investigated by regulators in the US, and those in Japan said they were watching the situation carefully. The UK's Serious Fraud Office is also considering whether to launch a full investigation, with some talk of a decision in the next few weeks.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Retirement Coordinator - Financial Services

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: To provide a prompt, friendly and efficient se...

Recruitment Genius: Annuities / Pensions Administrator

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: You will be the first point of contact for all...

Ashdown Group: HR, Payroll & Benefits Officer - Altrincham - up to £24,000.

£18000 - £24000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: HR, Payroll & Benefits Of...

Ashdown Group: Learning and Development Programme Manager

£35000 - £38000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...

Day In a Page

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing