Ex-CEO of Olympus says he was fired for whistleblowing

Daylife/Reuters Pictures used by permission

Sacked Olympus chief executive Michael Woodford says he has contacted the UK’s Serious Fraud Office about the Japanese firm’s accounting practices.

Mr Woodford, who was dismissed last week, told the BBC that he believed the camera-maker had paid out excessive sums in relation to takeover deals. He says he was fired for raising the issue, but Olympus says his different management style was to blame.

The SFO confirmed that Mr Woodford had contacted it.

Olympus said it would “consider” taking legal action against Mr Woodford for disclosing confidential information.

Mr Woodford said he had commissioned auditors PricewaterhouseCoopers to look into an alleged $687 million payment by Olympus to a Cayman Island company. He told the BBC that he was ousted after he distributed a copy of the PwC report on Wednesday night…

He says he was called into a board meeting on Friday at which the agenda had been changed. The only new item to discuss was his dismissal as chief executive with immediate effect, for which, he said, no reason was given.

After the board voted for his dismissal, he left the meeting and was followed to his office by a colleague…He was asked for the key to his flat, 51% of which he owned, and was told to get the bus to the airport as they had taken away his car…

According to Mr Woodford, auditors were unable to establish who owned the company in the Cayman Islands. He said questions still had to be answered: “To whom and for what did we pay this money..?”

A perfectly legitimate question within any legal corporate structure. Whether that structure is manipulated by officers dedicated to criminal pursuits is an entirely relevant question.

Sounds like Mr. Woodford asked that question. His dismissal is the only answer, so far.

One thought on “Ex-CEO of Olympus says he was fired for whistleblowing

  1. E Trams says:

    Ah yes, whistleblowers being victimized over and over and over.

    And when those responsible for prosecuting, arresting, or even questioning the real criminals don’t do their job or take it seriously, it really gets even scarier and life threatening for the whistleblower.

    I wonder if the whistleblowers who went to the FBI on former New Mexico Secretary of State Mary Herrera will ever get justice.

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