Olympus' Kikukawa resigns as chairman, president

26th October 2011, Comments 0 comments

Japanese camera maker Olympus on Wednesday said that Tsuyoshi Kikukawa has resigned as chairman and president, in the wake of a scandal triggered by the sacking of the firm's British CEO.

Kikukawa's resignation comes less than two weeks after he took control of the company following the ouster of former president and chief executive Michael Woodford.

Briton Woodford contended that he was removed after querying the size of payments made by Olympus in deals between 2006 and 2008.

Kikukawa will become a director without executive rights, the company said in a statement. Director Shuichi Takayama will replace him as president, said Olympus.

"As we have troubled our customers, business partners and shareholders over a series of press reports and a slump in share prices, chairman and president Tsuyoshi Kikukawa today returned his titles as well as his right to representation," the Olympus statement said.

"As his successor, Shuichi Takayama was elected president today."

Shares in the company have plunged, losing around half their value since the ousting of Woodford.

Among the deals queried by Woodford was the $1.92 billion acquisition of British medical-instruments company Gyrus Group and the $687 million that Olympus has said it paid an adviser on the purchase.

Woodford commissioned a report on the deal from accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) that queried why the fee was so high.

It totalled more than a third of the company's purchase price, much higher than the one or two percent normally charged in acquisition deals.

Olympus on Tuesday declined to comment on media reports that the FBI was investigating the scandal involving the near $700 million advisory fee payment.

© 2011 AFP

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