Olympus Corp.’s (TYO:7733) former CEO Michael Woodford returns to Japan this week to meet with government officials and company shareholders to push for reform in corporate board rooms.
The ousted executive has been a busy man lately, speaking with authorities in Japan, the U.S. and the U.K. about the scandal. Olympus has admitted to using mergers and acquisitions to conceal billions of dollars of investment losses. In one case the company shelled out $687 million in fees to dummy consulting firms.
Woodford, who was fired as CEO two weeks into the job, resigned from Olympus’ board earlier this month amid a massive accounting scandal going back nearly two decades.
Olympus admitted to channeling money through investment funds to hide losses. The technology titan revealed that nearly $1.7 billion in possibly illegal payments were used to conceal heavy losses on investments over the last two decades.
He returns to Japan this week to meet with Olympus employees and investors and Japanese legislators on a panel for corporate governance reform, according to Reuters.
The board "wrecked the company by siphoning off huge amounts of money on all this nonsense," Woodford said during a recent press conference. "The directors know that they will have to leave to bring credibility back to the board."
Woodford visited Japan late last month to face the board for the first time since being fired and subsequently blowing the whistle on the scandal. The company has since been probed by U.S. and U.K. regulators for dubious M&A activity, as well as by the Japanese officials for possible ties to organized crime.
Woodford, the company’s first non-Japanese CEO, was sacked after questioning the $687 million acquisition consulting fee. Olympus, which has a corner on 70 percent of the endoscopic camera market, launched an internal probe into the fee scandal after Woodford took his concerns to the media, the U.K.’s Serious Fraud Office and the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Meanwhile, the Japanese arm of auditing firm Ernst & Young is setting up an external review panel to determine how it and previous auditor KPMH could have missed Olympus’ $1.7 billion accounting scam.