Olympus pledges boardroom clearout over ¥132bn scandal
Hi-tech giant may also take legal action against executives in aftermath of damning inquiry
Nick Clark is the arts correspondent of The Independent. He joined the newspaper in June 2007, initially reporting on the stock markets. He has covered beats including the City, and technology, media and telecoms and made the switch to arts in December 2011. He has also contributed articles to the sports section.
Thursday 08 December 2011
The precision equipment maker Olympus has pledged to overhaul its entire board after an independent report criticised the management "cancer" at the heart of the company.
It is also considering moves to bring legal action against those responsible for covering up ¥132.2bn (£1.09bn) losses over a 20-year period.
Shuichi Takayama, its president, faced the press a day after publication of a damning report from a panel set up to probe four controversial takeovers by the company. He said: "Our corporate governance was severely criticised. As the representative of the company, I apologise sincerely.
"We deeply regret that we have given a very negative impression to Japan and possibly the world."
One director, Makoto Nakatsuka, resigned yesterday and the company signalled others were likely to follow.
It follows the resignation of former president Tsuyoshi Kikukawa, the vice- president Hisashi Mori and auditor Hideo Yamada.
On Tuesday, the independent committee, led by a former supreme court judge, Tatsuo Kainaka, called for legal action. It said the core part of the company's management was "rotten and the parts around it were also contaminated by the rot".
It also called for an overhaul of the board and said: "Olympus should remove its malignant tumour and literally renew itself."
The company said yesterday that the whole board could go after it had filed its second-quarter earnings. The company is in a race against time to file its numbers before 14 December, otherwise it will be delisted from the Tokyo Stock Exchange after 62 years.
Michael Woodford, who was ousted as chief executive after two weeks for raising "serious governance concerns" has been campaigning to uncover the wrongdoing at the company.
Mr Takayama yesterday admitted: "With his disclosures, he did something that we could not do ourselves, and I recognise that." Mr Woodford is keen to return to the helm of the company to oversee its restructuring and has lobbied the board to call an extraordinary general meeting to appoint a new management team.
Such a meeting would not take place before the end of February, Mr Takayama said. On the plans for a new president he added: "We are still considering the plan that we will submit.
"We don't know what Mr Woodford is thinking but he has said he will pursue a proxy fight, so we think there will certainly be a proposal."
The company has bowed to other recommendations in the report and will establish independent panels to oversee its management and auditing.
Another panel will scrutinise 70 past and current executives and senior figures at the company.
- 1 King Salman: Just five days in, Saudi Arabia's new king has already overseen a beheading
- 2 The BBC has just done more to eradicate ‘terrorism’ than all our wars since 9/11
- 4 Presidential optical illusion offers clues to how brain processes faces
King Salman: Just five days in, Saudi Arabia's new king has already overseen a beheading
Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary: Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Ukip Jelly Babies cause uproar on Amazon
Chilling drone footage captures Auschwitz ahead of 70th anniversary of liberation
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
iJobs Money & Business
£23000 - £26000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive...
£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Technical Report Writer is re...
Competitive salary & benefits!: MBDA UK Ltd: MBDA UK LTD Indirect Procurement...
£16500 - £16640 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing Finance compa...