Bloomberg: Brainless Olympus

Started Oct 20, 2011 | Discussions thread
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Bloomberg: Brainless Olympus
Oct 20, 2011

"More Money Than Brains Leads to Olympus Shock: William Pesek

By William Pesek - Oct 20, 2011

Master of Business Administration programs the world over should add a new course: Olympus 101. For budding business magnates, it would be a timely exercise into how not to handle a crisis, run a major company or manage the third-biggest economy.

It says a lot when world-weary investors hardened by the shenanigans at Enron Corp., WorldCom Inc., Parmalat SpA and Wall Street are aghast at a corporate scandal. The Einsteins at Olympus Corp., the camera and medical-supplies maker, pulled off that feat and more in a week that can’t end soon enough for Japanese politicians and executives.

This still-unfolding story has it all: a proud company founded in 1919; the firing of a foreign president brought in to shake things up in ways a local wouldn’t; a very un-Japanese bout of public infighting; a whiff of possible yakuza involvement; bundles of squandered cash; clueless executives; a media frenzy; and regulators hoping the whole thing goes away.

The real intrigue has yet to come. What, if anything, will Japan do? In an ideal world, the answer is simple: The Olympus board would be fired and regulators would investigate this shameful affair with vigor, openness and sincerity to restore global confidence in Japan Inc."

"Really, I’d feel better investing with Bernie Madoff or the Marx Brothers than Olympus’s board. In a delicious bit of irony, Olympus Chairman Tsuyoshi Kikukawa on Monday will give a speech on “Global Social Responsibility from Japan to the World.” As if he has anything edifying to offer."

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