Bloomberg News

Woodford Calls Olympus’s Bid to Pin Woes on Him ‘Ludicrous’

November 09, 2011

(Updates with Olympus’s comment in seventh paragraph.)

Nov. 8 (Bloomberg) -- Former Olympus Corp. Chief Executive Officer Michael Woodford called attempts to blame him for the company woes “ludicrous.”

The entire board shares responsibility for the company’s problems and should be replaced, Woodford said in an interview with Lisa Murphy on Bloomberg Television’s “Street Smart.”

“The board all has to go,” said Woodford, who was ousted as Olympus’ CEO last month after raising questions about dubious acquisitions and the payment of nearly $700 million in advisory fees to a relatively unknown boutique firm that funneled the money to the Cayman Islands.

Since his dismissal, Woodford has been a vocal critic of Olympus’ management practices, disseminated documents supporting his research into Olympus’ payment of advisory fees and met with law enforcement officials in the U.S.

Shuichi Takayama, who became president of Olympus two weeks ago, said Tuesday that the company’s longtime management team had hidden hundreds of millions of dollars in losses from investors over a span of two decades.

He blamed Olympus’s plunging share price on Woodford’s attempts to unearth the reasons for the outsized advisory payments.

“The reason why shares fell so much is because Mr. Woodford gave that important information including things we didn’t even know,” said Takayama at a press conference. “If it wasn’t for Mr. Woodford, we would still be well placed in the market and our business would be healthy. But I do realize the importance of corporate governance and we’ll improve our management style.”

“What a ludicrous, idiotic statement,” Woodford said in the television interview. “It’s offensive.”

--Editors: Andrew Dunn, Mary Romano

To contact the reporter on this story: Greg Farrell in New York at gregfarrell@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net.


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