Woodford quits ’tainted’ Olympus board but wants old job back (update)
December 1, 2011
Olympus has confirmed that Michael Woodford (pictured) who lost his job as CEO after blowing the whistle on a massive accounting scandal has resigned from the board of directors.
Woodford, who had remained a director of the company after he was sensationally sacked in October – just 10 days into his job as CEO – has called for an entirely new management team to take the company forward.
And he made clear he wants to be part of it. ?I am strongly of the view that it?s completely inappropriate for the current management team who are tainted by its past mistakes to make choices about the identity of new board members,? Woodford said in a statement reported in the Financial Times, which he has since confirmed.
The former CEO, who is in New York for talks with FBI officials, called for an emergency meeting of shareholders to replace the current management.
In an email sent from New York this morning Woodford told Amateur Photographer (AP) that he remains ‘completely committed to Olympus and, if the shareholders decide, very much want to return and lead the company to a brighter future’.
He added: ‘Following the board meeting that I attended last Friday in Tokyo, I was extremely concerned about the way in which the Olympus management team would be reformed in order to best position the company to move forward.’
In the email Woodford said he intends to ‘liaise with all interested stakeholders with a view to formulating a proposal for the constitution of a new board’.
He insisted he is ‘not walking away from Olympus’, adding: ‘I believe passionately in the company, its employees, its products and its future. It is a wonderful and successful company which has been led down the wrong path by the actions of some of its board members.’
In a statement issued last week, Olympus president and CEO Shuichi Takayama pledged a management overhaul, but stopped short of removing the whole board.
‘We, the members of the incumbent management team at Olympus Corporation, will be ready to stand aside once Olympus is on track for recovery,’ said Takayama.
In an interview with news agency Bloomberg, yesterday, Woodford said: ‘I will come together with a new slate of directors’.
He explained that resigning ‘allows me to talk to all parties at Olympus’.
Earlier this week, Olympus president Shuichi Takayama announced ?immediate? plans to ?reform company management (make-up of the team and decision-making processes) in a way that will be acceptable to stakeholders and that represents the best possible way to drive the company toward its business vision?.
In an interview with Amateur Photographer, in November, Woodford said: ‘We have to clear up this horrible governance issue, then we can move forward. Olympus could become a glowing example of what corporate governance could mean.’
‘There are a lot of good Japanese people out there.’
Woodford told AP that damage done to the brand’s reputation by the widening scandal has left him ‘depressed and saddened’, yet he insisted Olympus is not fatally wounded.
‘I wouldn’t say I would be prepared to go back and run it if I felt it was too late, would I?’, added Woodford who said his father was a photographer.
‘To me there’s nothing wrong with Olympus, except the most senior management, that’s the weakness.’
In a statement, released today, Olympus?s Tokyo office confirmed it had received the resignation letter from Woodford ?who has officially resigned as of today [1 December]?.
(Picture: C Cheesman)