Former Olympus CEO returning to Japan: report

13th December 2011, Comments 0 comments

Former Olympus chief Michael Woodford will return to Japan Tuesday, a report said, on the eve of the deadline for the scandal-hit firm to file its accounts or risk a delisting from Tokyo's bourse.

Woodford -- first ever non-Japanese president and chief executive of the camera and medical equipment maker, who was ousted on October 14 -- will meet investors and members of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan, Kyodo News said.

The meeting with lawmakers was to discuss Japan's corporate governance, whose reputation took a severe bruising after the firm's admission that it orchestrated a massive cover-up of losses for more than a decade, it said.

The Briton also planned to hold a press briefing, Kyodo said.

Woodford was stripped of his executive posts after he alleged that Olympus had overpaid in acquisition deals and raised concerns over serious governance problems at the 92-year-old firm.

He resigned from Olympus' board last month, but has said he is planning a proxy war to win shareholder support to oust the firm's management and possibly install himself back in a leadership position.

The visit, Woodford's second to Japan since his sacking, comes one day before the deadline for Olympus to file its overdue earnings report.

The firm could be delisted from Tokyo's stock exchange if it misses the Wednesday deadline.

Shares in the company, which is facing several legal and regulatory investigations as well as a class-action lawsuit filed by a US investor, closed 5.38 percent higher at 1,370 yen on Tuesday.

The volatile stock, which lost as much as 80 percent at one stage, was now worth a little over half its value before Woodford's ouster.

Last week, a committee of outside lawyers and an accountant -- all chosen by Olympus -- concluded that former Olympus president Tsuyoshi Kikukawa and his predecessor Masatoshi Kishimoto approved the cover-up scheme.

The stinging report described top management as "rotten" and "contaminated", saying they hid at least 134.9 billion yen ($1.73 billion) in losses.

After the report, current president Shuichi Takayama said the firm's executives would be replaced "at an appropriate time... after they pave a way forward to rebuild the company".

© 2011 AFP

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