Olympus management 'ready to resign' after scandal

24th November 2011, Comments 0 comments

The management team of scandal-hit Olympus is prepared to step down once the Japanese firm is on the road to recovery, company president Shuichi Takayama said Thursday.

"Once the group is on the road to recovery, the current management team are willing to resign our positions at any time to take responsibility for the crisis," Takayama said in a statement.

But he also suggested they had no intention of resigning immediately while tackling the current crisis as investigations continue into the firm's cover-up of huge losses and while its shares are in danger of being delisted from the Tokyo exchange.

Takayama said the image and value of the business had been damaged.

So the existing management first need to "shed light on the concealing of financial losses, find those responsible, propose an alternative management structure and a vision for the future."

An independent committee of inquiry has been set up to scrutinise past transactions and company finances to uncover the wrongdoing that for years helped conceal huge investment losses.

Olympus has admitted that it covered up those losses dating back to the 1990s with fees for acquisitions and consultants, following weeks of pressure after former company chief Michael Woodford blew the whistle on payments made in four deals.

The camera and medical equipment maker abruptly stripped the Briton of his title on October 14, only six months after appointing him its first ever non-Japanese president and two weeks after he was also named chief executive.

Woodford has contended that he was sacked because he questioned the acquisitions and enormous fees paid to little-known consultants based in the Cayman Islands.

Olympus said separately that the three main company officials implicated so far, former president Tsuyoshi Kikukawa, former vice president Hisashi Mori and auditor Hideo Yamada, formally stepped down from the board on Thursday.

© 2011 AFP

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