Olympus to Select New Management for Shareholders to Approve in April

Olympus to Select New Management for Shareholders to Approve in April

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Tokyo, Japan—Having posted a quarterly loss and predicting a loss for the year, scandal-ridden Olympus Corporation announced it will put in place the names of candidates for a new management team by next month, and leave to them all company decisions, including whether to sell a stake.

The company has been plagued by leadership and financial uncertainty since it fired its CEO/president, Michael C. Woodford, last October after he brought to light the company’s $1.5 billion accounting irregularities and a cover-up that extends back 13 years.

The scandal brought down its chairman, Tsuyoshi Kikukawa; director and executive vice president Hisashi Mori; and the company’s corporate auditor, Hideo Yamada—all said to have been complicit in the scheme. The reins were handed over to Shuichi Takayama, who is now among the company executives being sued by Olympus Corp. for failing to prevent the scandal.

In addition, the company is being investigated by police and regulators from several countries, including the U.S. FBI.

“We are leaving the decisions on what direction the company will go to the next management team,” Takayama said at a news conference, adding independent panels appointed by Olympus are discussing who should lead the company. Directors who were held responsible for the scandal, including himself, “are not at all involved” in selecting new managers, Takayama said.

The company also announced it has scheduled an extraordinary shareholders’ meeting for April 20, where shareholders will vote on candidates for the board. According to Reuters, “Most of the company's current directors, including Mr. Takayama, will step down to take responsibility for the scandal then.” olympus.com