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Cath Everett

Sift Media

Freelance journalist and former editor of HRZone

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Former CEO turned whistleblower to sue Olympus for unfair dismissal

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The former chief executive of Olympus, who was ousted after blowing the whistle on a $1.7 billion accounting scandal, plans to sue his former employer for unfair dismissal.

Michael Woodford, who was the first non-Japanese person to hold the posts of president and CEO at the 92-year-old electronics and medical devices manufacturer, said that he was giving up on his attempt to get his job back, after failing to win the support of shareholders for himself and a new group of directors to take over operations.
 
“Despite my having done the right thing, none of the major Japanese institutional shareholders have offered one word of support to me and, conversely, have in effect allowed the tainted and contaminated board to continue in office,” he said in a statement.
 
Woodford was ousted in October, sparking one of Japan’s biggest corporate scandals in decades. Olympus is now being investigated by police and securities regulators, with inquiries focusing on allegations that former executives hid investment losses dating back to the 1990s.
 
But Woodford said that the anguish suffered by his wife after he went public with his revelations had played a major part in his decision to drop a bid to return to the company.
 
He added that he had now instructed his lawyers to bring a case against it in the UK and would be seeking damages. “There are no grounds whatsoever for dismissal,” Woodford said.
 
At the time of his sacking, Olympus said that it was terminating his contract due to a clash of management styles.
Author Profile Picture
Cath Everett

Freelance journalist and former editor of HRZone

Read more from Cath Everett
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