Bloomberg News

Olympus’s Kikukawa Cancels Talk at ‘Social Responsibility’ Forum

October 22, 2011

Oct. 23 (Bloomberg) -- Olympus Corp. Chairman Tsuyoshi Kikukawa, under fire from shareholders for $687 million in payments to advisers, canceled an appointment to speak at a forum on social responsibility this week in Tokyo, according to the event organizer.

The Nikkei Global Management Forum has removed Kikukawa from the list of participants at its Oct. 25 session on “Global Social Responsibility From Japan to the World,” according to the event’s website. Yoshiaki Yamada, a spokesman for Olympus, declined to comment on the cancellation.

Olympus said it will seek a third-party probe into the advisory fees after two overseas funds called for an investigation and Nippon Life Insurance Co., the largest shareholder, urged the maker of optical equipment to respond to investor concerns. That followed revelations of the payments by Michael C. Woodford, who was fired from the post of chief executive officer on Oct. 14.

The Tokyo-based company on Oct. 19 said it paid $687 million in fees, including a $443 million buyback of preferred shares, for the $2 billion purchase of Gyrus Group Plc in 2008. A day earlier, Kikukawa said the amount was only about half as much.

Shares of the world’s biggest maker of endoscopes have fallen by half, erasing more than $4 billion in market value, in the six trading days since Woodford was fired. Woodford, Olympus’ first non-Japanese CEO, has said he was ousted for challenging the payments to advisers on the Gyrus transaction.

--Editors: Jason Clenfield, Jim McDonald

To contact the reporter on this story: Mariko Yasu in Tokyo at myasu@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jim McDonald at jmcdonald8@bloomberg.net


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