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Former CEO Woodford quits Olympus board to call for new management

By dpreview staff on Dec 1, 2011 at 03:03 GMT

Olympus' former CEO Michael Woodford has resigned his position as director of the company and called for a shareholder meeting to dismiss the rest of the board. The company's share price had started to recover some of the 88% value it had lost in the weeks since Woodford was removed as CEO for highlighting unusual payments by the company (he remained a director). Since then the company has admitted using these payments to cover up losses on earlier investments. An independent committee established by the company has reported it has found no evidence of the rumored involvement of organized crime syndicates in the deals. However, three board members, including the President and Vice-President have resigned over the issue.

Possible restructuring

In a board meeting last week attended by Woodford, the company agreed to start reviews of its corporate governance (to prevent such actions being taken again and to provide reassurance to investors) and on restructuring the business. Investment analysts have speculated that this second review could result in parts of the business being sold off to protect its core value. The company is currently dominated by its profitable 'Medical Systems' endoscopy business that makes up 42% of the company's value. The loss-making 'Imaging Systems' camera division makes up around 16% of the company, making it the third-largest segment.

Risk of delisting

The company has reiterated that it will be able to file its Q2 earnings reports by the deadline of December 14th - failure to do so would result in its delisting from the Japanese Stock Exchange (and thus the suspension of its shares, limiting its means of raising investment). Several overseas shareholders have been calling for Woodford reinstatement.

Meanwhile the initial independent committee's report is due to be published on December 2nd.

(via Reuters)

Comments

Total comments: 85
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Dec 10, 2011)

Frankly, I am worried about the possibility of Olympus as a company being shut-down or sold to another company due to the home office thievery. The company's higher-ups have been raiding and let's face it, stealing from the company, so who wants to deal with scumbags like that? Even made the Jay Leno Tonight Show. Over $2 billion of Olympus money "unaccounted for" -- well, that may account for the fact why these small Oly lenses cost so much.

My money says Panasonic, Casio, or some camera/lens other company will buy up Olympus quickly, and on the cheap. Older, more established, and better run companies than Olympus have gone out of business recently.

0 upvotes
erichK
By erichK (Dec 3, 2011)

It may be wise to research the actual qualifications that Woodford brings, and compare them to those of the people he is trying to replace.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_people_involved_in_the_Olympus_scandal

This is no Steve Jobs or even Bill Gates, but a corporate bean-counter with no technical or engineering training or background - or, likely, vision.

0 upvotes
sunhorse
By sunhorse (Dec 4, 2011)

I don't necessarily believe that Woodford is the right person to lead Olympus out of this mess. However, it is amply clear at this point the those remaining on the board are not in any way to be trusted, and therefore their qualifications are irrelevant.

You have previously expressed concern, rightly, for the 35,000 workers at Olympus. Let us not forget that their plight was the direct result of the long-running fraud ("tobashi") practiced by the Olympus board.

Also, the employees are not the only stakeholders. In the UK and particularly US financial circles, shareholders are seen as king. In Japan, the stakeholders are employees, customers, partners and shareholders. Good governance means decisions that widely impact stakeholders are made with due diligence and caution. None of that was done by the previous board. The current board chose to continue in their footsteps, and very likely profited from this. This is not only bad governance, but highly unethical as well.

0 upvotes
M1963
By M1963 (Dec 4, 2011)

I don't agree, erichK. I know the man at least as well as you do, but there are two relevant factors counting for MCW: he has been at Olympus for 31 years and has been ahead of Olympus Europa, bringing it back to profits. I wouldn't dismiss him as a mere bean counter. Besides, if I were a shareholder I'd rather have a serious and capable manager, even if he doesn't have the 'right' qualifications, than highly qualified people with no ethics at all. Anyway, I've got the impression, from the interviews I've read, that MCW is highly aware of the importance of Olympus as a photography manufacturer and isn't willing to part with it unless strictly necessary. Also - and as irrelevant as it may seem -, I read somewhere that he's the son of a photographer, which could add to his aforementioned awareness (and should explain why he built his career at Olympus). But then, as Radiohead would put it, 'I might be wrong'... MCW could be a shark, as someone wrote here.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (Dec 4, 2011)

I heard that Kikukawa is a very capable man. he understands things quickly, makes daring decisions, motivates people with warm heart and personal charm, and strikes enemies with no mercy. he will be sent behind bars.

0 upvotes
Stanley Hoffman
By Stanley Hoffman (Dec 3, 2011)

This is a very interesting situation that allowed some to make huge fees. There are some good articles on this out there.

0 upvotes
AbrasiveReducer
By AbrasiveReducer (Dec 2, 2011)

I remember, in one of his early interviews, Woodford said "...and even the camera portion of the buisiness was starting to show some improvment...." This isn't an exact quote but the point is, on a good day, cameras, cutthroat consumer pricing and the marketing overhead they require are a lousy business. So, even if Olympus cameras were to dissapear, the fact remains that there is still far too much redundency in digital cameras and it wasn't that good a business to begin with. What I can't figure at all is why Samsung, Matsushita and Sony want to get into this nightmare. If they are cash rich they should make scientific/medical instruments for which they can charge pretty much whatever they want.

0 upvotes
Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (Dec 2, 2011)

Sony and Panasonic (Matsushita) are losing money. Samsung has a lower cost structure, but is probably losing money on cameras. Its consumer electronics "winner" has been a tablet, not a camera. It's hard to make money in a business where the R&D costs rise exponentially for each incremental benefit, but the prices fall year after year. The specter of cell-phone cameras dominating the imaging market narrows the prospects even more.

Comment edited 17 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Franka T.L.
By Franka T.L. (Dec 2, 2011)

16% and money losing , and with a name now with dubious reputation, a product line that can only be termed limited compared to the wider total market existance. Well I would not find it hard that the imaging will eventually got axed. Its just business. the good thing is Imaging is about the only division Olympus had that are consumer market products and give the corp the needed name recogniction as a mass marketing and brand awareness goes.

In the end, its not just Olympus. And the incident is not singular. Japanese Corporate culture just foster such environment and its a totality in its own that need to be addressed.

0 upvotes
Antisthenes
By Antisthenes (Dec 10, 2011)

> In the end, its not just Olympus. And the incident is not singular.
> Japanese Corporate culture just foster such environment

Mannesmann, Enron, Andersen, ENI, Tyco, Goldman Sachs, the Greek Government…

0 upvotes
compositor20
By compositor20 (Dec 2, 2011)

How about casio? wouldnt they have the money? its the only "big" camera manufacturer without rumors of a ILC.

0 upvotes
erichK
By erichK (Dec 2, 2011)

Cameras and lenses are not an "investment" unless you want to store them in a display case or safety deposit box, and eventually sell them as collectors items or antiques. Cameras are tools for taking pictures, and their value is in using them, not speculation: they tend to depreciate rather than appreciate as they age, regardless of brand

Like many other Olympus DSLR buyers, I continue to use my E-5 and other Olympus dslrs and lenses, and still find them am excellent value. In fact, I will be picking up my PanaLeica 25f1.4 from Fedex tomorrow morning, and look forward to using it.

My 1973 OM1 still works well, so my E-5 and E-3 should keep working for some years yet.

Olympus produces good cameras and lenses, and came up with innovations, like the dust-buster and live-view (which made dslr video possible)l that the whole industry copied.

And 35,000 people who produce vital medical and decent optical equipment should not suffer because of a few swindling egomaniacs at the top.

1 upvote
thinkfat
By thinkfat (Dec 2, 2011)

Oh, you can use them to make money. If you sell your photos and get more than the equipment cost out of it, it's an investment, too ;)

1 upvote
Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (Dec 2, 2011)

Are digital cameras mere toys from Santa for the the pleasure of big kids? They exist only if companies make money selling them. Pinhole boxes and nitrate plate concoctions are all that would exist if cameras were not industrial goods like autos, shampoo, or potato chips.

Industries require capital. Capital requires return. Return must be measured reliably. That entails accountanting, audit, and compliance standards and workers, whose "bean counting" is vital to keeping the business going, especially given the falling prices and thin margins earned on electronic goods.

Kikukawa & Kronies were hiding losses, or maybe extracting money, from a company reporting losses since 2008 and with $7b in debt. A new team must take a fresh look. The other 35k employees don't get any "pass" if earnings don't cover debts. That's life.

1 upvote
yabokkie
By yabokkie (Dec 2, 2011)

I know of no OM-1 still working with the original shutter. I don't think any will after nearly 40 years. in fact the old rubberized silk curtain can go wrong easily within several years (when people took far less photos than we do now).

0 upvotes
John Gruffydd
By John Gruffydd (Dec 4, 2011)

"I know of no OM-1 still working with the original shutter".

Both mine are, as is my OM2n

0 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (Dec 4, 2011)

I got mine replaced in Tokyo. the man at the store told me that all the shops send OMs to the same place who can repair better than the original ones, which were not made in good quality.

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 4 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
maboleth
By maboleth (Dec 2, 2011)

Well, as a former Olympus DSLR user I can safely say that they deserve to shrivel and fall with their current 4/3 line.
The company made SO many mistakes and missed so many opportunities.

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
4 upvotes
Kevin Myers
By Kevin Myers (Dec 2, 2011)

Plus one here. I was "dumped" by Oly for my >$2000 investment when they dumped 43. It doesn't hurt me one bit to see them get caught.

I just hope that a new buyer will take them in a direction where they are sensitive to the investments made by us users of their camera product line.

0 upvotes
CollBaxter
By CollBaxter (Dec 2, 2011)

Firstly I am photographer , secondly a 4/3 Olympus user and I am quite heavily spent in Olympus equipment. ( 2 K I wish ) and if you are a amateur like me CAMERAS ARE NOT A INVESTMENT . Post’s with the word “deserve” I find offensive ( Sound’s like the jilted lover).

If Olympus goes bust about 30,000 people stand to have their lives serious disrupted and a lot of those losing their jobs do they deserve that ? But it always is about “me” is it not.

When you decided to go the 4/3 you knew it was one of the smaller systems and could possibly not have a safe future and now we have the Waily , Waily , about how you where deceived , and “Olympus stole the picture I might have taken.” Etc, Etc. Maybe you should question your judgement on your original purchase of Olympus equipment.
There are many happy Olympus user’s still out there waiting in trepidation . Maybe Olympus will be gone tomorrow, who knows maybe if they survive they will kill oficially kill 4/3.
Time will tell.

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 9 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (Dec 2, 2011)

killing 4/3 is the right thing to do.

0 upvotes
Marty4650
By Marty4650 (Dec 1, 2011)

If only Woodford had kept his fat mouth shut!

Lets kill the messenger!

1 upvote
elleyyh
By elleyyh (Dec 2, 2011)

Woody the biggest cry baby. The guy doesnt care about the company. He needs to grow up and take it like a professional ceo. If i was him ill try to.resolve it with in the company but this 9 yr old ceo keeps on shooting his m4/tart

1 upvote
Dymo
By Dymo (Dec 2, 2011)

No matter the sake of Woodford, he disclosed the dirty things of the broad.
One of the biggest 5 camera maker 30 years ago, it lost it market share now. The director broad should take the responsibility and resign.
As one the trusted company, it make lies to its shareholders and its penality is death. What will happen if Obama doning the same thing for 20 years (if possible)?

3 upvotes
elleyyh
By elleyyh (Dec 2, 2011)

Dymo, what is Obama? You think politicians like the ones in Washington have been doing honest work for the US citizens? LOL!!! Where have you been on Earth for the last 20 years?

0 upvotes
Dymo
By Dymo (Dec 2, 2011)

Nobody does honest thing on the world, only whether they are discovered or not.

Elleyyh, I really wish I'm living in the simple world as my father.

Comment edited 10 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (Dec 2, 2011)

Stuff began hitting the fan long ago. Moody's cancelled its rating of Olympus in 2005. Woodford was merely the first guy on the board to tire of fairy tales and to understand the eventual potentially penal consequences. With time, small lies grew into big ones as management devised new phoney investments to obscure losses on old ones. Self-interest does eventually inspire people to do the right thing. Had Woodford kept silent "for the sake of the company," he would have become complicit in the lie and incur serious punishment.

1 upvote
Ashley Pomeroy
By Ashley Pomeroy (Dec 1, 2011)

"In a board meeting last week attended by Woodford" - that must have been a jolly occasion. It would be fascinating to know how they arranged the seating, because no-one would want to sit next to him. There's probably a memo somewhere - bashed out with corporate lawyers - outlining the minimum chair distance between Woodford and the next executives along, and the chairs were probably bolted into place so that there was no chance of them moving any closer.

Along similar lines, isn't Nikon actually dominated by its industrial chip manufacturing business? And Canon has its printers and so forth, and Leica probably makes more money from the name than from its cameras. Does any company actually make a profit purely from making and selling cameras?

0 upvotes
Dymo
By Dymo (Dec 2, 2011)

I will not sit beside a police if I'm a criminal.

1 upvote
erichK
By erichK (Dec 1, 2011)

Woodford... The amount of publicity he has managed to gain is incredible. Everything from plots on his life to to the nightmares of his wife.

Woodford rose by slashing staff to maximize profits at the UK, rose to head Oly in Europe and was likelu brought to Japan, to do the same thing.

He used his 2 week CEO position to investigate dubious past acquisitions and the resutling report to demand that he replace as head. Instead, he was fired. He deserves credit for uncovering these transactions,. Olympus heads lied to shareholders and did things that had become illegal. A great deal of money was written off in strange ways. More is unaccounted for and there may even be a Yakuza coonection.

This does not automatically mean that crowing Woodward and firing 20 + directors, some likely technically expert and uninvolved in what was going on is the best way forward.

A week ago, W talked about retiring. Now, he is again gunning for the top. Let's wait for the auditors report!.

2 upvotes
Dymo
By Dymo (Dec 2, 2011)

Detected such a huge crime in just 2 weeks.
Woodfored is a genius.

1 upvote
erichK
By erichK (Dec 2, 2011)

Huge crime? You, sir, seem to not have noticed directors of companies like Siemens going to jail for smuggling nuclear technology to Iran, or our own (or rather formerly our- he renounced his Canadian citizenship) Conrad Black going to jail for years for stealing in a much more direct way than anyone has so far even accused anyone on the Olympus BOD doing.

Whatever happened at Olympus may turn out be slightly less "huge" crimes.

In Canada, people are only called criminals after the facts have been determined through an investigation and tested in a court of law. Is your country any different?

You are implying that the whole Olympus Board was complicit in crime. Are you really sure that all 22, including a Nobel price-wining American economist, were involved?

Don't you think that it may be wiser to at least wait for the auditor's report and some actual results from police and regulatory investigations?

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
Dymo
By Dymo (Dec 2, 2011)

Dear Erichk,
I completly agree with you. There are numerous crimes happens in our world every minutes, some are being recognised but many are not, some are being punished but most are not. We should persude people not doing things under table.
For a normal citizen, I wish I am being treated fair, my surrounding envirnment keeps clear and open.
As a share holder, earning or loss is everyday business. I wish I am not being cheated with wrong information only.
About auditor report's matter, there were already 2 previous report mention about it but not care but the broad, TSE or the governement.
I think I may miss if I look people on their career, status or achievement. I always think people in high place had done something to let them in high place, of course I am always wrong.

Comment edited 6 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
MichaelKJ
By MichaelKJ (Dec 2, 2011)

Erich K,
So how would you classify the level of criminal activity that appears to have taken place at Olympus? Semi-huge, serious, or just an everyday instance of corporate greed? All of us can cite many instances of major criminal corporate activity. Nevertheless, the fact remains that this is is major scandal.

0 upvotes
Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (Dec 2, 2011)

Erich K: Yes, it was a big crime. The fraud runs into the billions. Once something becomes so big, and so many others become complicit, you don't get anywhere with a few polite coughs. Kikukawa went ape when Woodford retained PWC to second guess the money trail for the $0.7b "advisory fee." How in blazes could he or anyone turn around the company with so many "black holes" or transactions no one would explain or be allowed to question?

Olympus is not simply a pretty camera shop whose display window has been vandalized by some uncouth Brit.

Moody's cancelled its Olympus rating in 2005. The company has been losing money, even without taking into account the fraud. It is over-leveraged and has too much of its capital in "intangibles" that earnings may never amortize.

1 upvote
STejas
By STejas (Dec 1, 2011)

Seems to be the modern way of big business. Whatever you can get away with. Absolutely no moral quotient whatsoever. Just get money. As much as possible any way possible.

You can't write enough laws or hire and pay enough cops to keep a whole population basically honest. Most of the ordinary folks decrying all the pirate business going on everywhere would file a fraudulent insurance claim in a heartbeat it they were pretty sure they could get away with it. Half of them actually have.

4 upvotes
Ashley Pomeroy
By Ashley Pomeroy (Dec 1, 2011)

It's always been like that; in fact it was worse in the past. Olympus fiddled their accounts; the East India Tea Company wheedled itself into owning much of India, enforcing its rule with a private army, killing thousands in the process. No matter how low your opinion of humanity, the reality is lower.

1 upvote
Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (Dec 1, 2011)

Q2 earnings mean September in Japan. The report may contain a "subsequent events" note that, much like other company filings after the quake-tsunami, make blanket reference to potential losses they were not yet able to measure. Perhaps some charges or provisions will be made to cover "assets" related to zero-earnings shell companies. However, a full audit of the multi-year scheme to dodge recognition of losses may take several months. Meanwhile, the "going concern" measure of Olympus is nothing more and nothing less than whether sales cover operating expenses by sufficient margin to cover amortization of debt. Investors may also apply a "haircut" to inventory, if sales are slow and some items require a discount or charge for obsolescence.

Comment edited 52 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
MichaelKJ
By MichaelKJ (Dec 2, 2011)

Based on what I have read, the auditors are required to state that, to the best of their knowledge, they agree with Oly's restatement of company assets. The TSE requires that Oly's auditors for the past 5 years must sign off by Dec 14--KPMG and Ernst. KPMG was fired by Oly after uncovering fraud, so it has no reason to stick its neck out and certify anything it has doubts about.

0 upvotes
Rriley
By Rriley (Dec 1, 2011)

has anyone checked to see if this guy wears his underwear on the outside?

0 upvotes
Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (Dec 1, 2011)

Ah, yes. That's really important.

Strange how some people continue to insinuate that Woodford is the malefacius, and smear black bile everywhere to make the nightmare go away. But one does need to be a bit of a devil to challenge a whole BOD full of demons and their stooges.

2 upvotes
rrr_hhh
By rrr_hhh (Dec 1, 2011)

To Cheze,

Frankly at first I had nothing against Woodford, but as things continue to unroll, I can't help feeling that he has a dire interest in all the smearing campaign going on concerning Olympus. Why is he continually talking to the press and smearing/insinuating that the board of directors are 1) incompetent, 2) corrupted 3) linked to the Jacuzzas ? After having first uncovered things and denounced them to the police, he should just shut up, supposing he had any feeling for the company left.

1 upvote
M1963
By M1963 (Dec 1, 2011)

To rrr_hhh:
1. What on earth is a Jacuzza? A japanese mobster who likes jacuzzis? A criminal bath tub? A coalition between mafia and yakuza to take over the bathtub business?
2. Seriously now, I'd say someone who's been in a company for 31 years is bound to have 'any feeling for the company left'. I understand that you may find his attitude suspicious, but would you rather he'd keep it quiet and let things stay as they were? You seem to imply his attitude is destroying Olympus, but in my view what has done damage to the company was all the wrongdoing of the previous administrations. Remember it all goes back to the 90's!
3. I do, however, agree that his current attitude may be seen as a display of free-reined ambition, but on the other hand Olympus' name will never be cleansed until all current members of the board will leave. That's essential in order to restore investors' and clients' trust in the company. IMHO

2 upvotes
roblarosa
By roblarosa (Dec 1, 2011)

Jacuzzas? LMFAO

1 upvote
elleyyh
By elleyyh (Dec 1, 2011)

Rr hhh i totally agree. He needs to take it like a man.

1 upvote
Marwood
By Marwood (Dec 1, 2011)

Take, like a man, being sacked for investigating a messy cover-up? He only made it public when the board suddenly closed-ranks and fired him for uncovering their dodgy dealings.

Are you both seriously suggesting the company would be better-off in the hands of the current board? Who you have to conclude were either complicit in or ignorant of what was going on (neither of which looks that attractive to potential investors).

Woodford has said he'd be willing to run the company if asked but mainly appears to be trying to clear out the people who presided over the mess, which is the only way the company will prosper.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
maboleth
By maboleth (Dec 1, 2011)

"A coalition between mafia and yakuza to take over the bathtub business?" Hahaha!!

Jacuzza definitely got me!!! HAHAHA!!!

OlympusJacuzza bathtubs - a water massage like no other.

1 upvote
Tim in upstate NY
By Tim in upstate NY (Dec 1, 2011)

Until the fraudulant bookkeeping practices get sorted out by these independent investigators, we shouldn't assume that the imaging division has actually been losing money.

3 upvotes
Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (Dec 1, 2011)

Under proper management, perhaps the camera division could make money. Preservation of the product name depends on that. But, if the existing books and records show losses, prior to the company's other "hidden" losses camouflaged as new investments or intangibles, there is no reason to expect things have been going well.

0 upvotes
PetarM
By PetarM (Dec 1, 2011)

its all because of E-xxx ;)

what a bunch of CEOs. They should just read the forum and listen to users.

1 upvote
sderdiarian
By sderdiarian (Dec 1, 2011)

Olympus Imaging has been stunted for a long time now, and not by the Yakuza but by poor product decisions. When others went to video and 3" hi-res LCD's in their DSLR's, Olumpus introduced the E-30/E-620 sans both. As others upped sensor design for broader DR/higher ISO capabilities, Olympus stubbornly stuck with an inherently noisy older design. And now, as large displays have become common even in compacts and especially cellphones, the new E-PM/E-PL3 retreat to a 2.4" usable area display.

I love their lenses, their JPEG colors and IBIS which should be in every camera. But they always manage to trip themselves up. Nothing to do with Yakuza or shady investment schemes, just bad product planning. This is why they need new management to rescue Imaging.

As for Woodford, he simply did what any person in his position should, saw potentially criminal activity and brought in the authorities. Don't shoot the messenger.

7 upvotes
tennjed
By tennjed (Dec 1, 2011)

I agree wholeheartedly. The EP3 was the camera for me if it had the articulated LCD. The choice to present this feature on the EPL3 and not the EP3 defies understanding. Now I own an NEX5n.

A few years back, the president of Ford stated: "We are not in financial trouble because of accounting issues, we are in trouble because we do not build cars that people want to buy."

2 upvotes
Ibida Bab
By Ibida Bab (Dec 1, 2011)

Excellent thoughts...

0 upvotes
rrr_hhh
By rrr_hhh (Dec 1, 2011)

To Sderdiarian,

Woodford has not only blown the whistle on the suspicious fees paid, he is managing a whole PR campaign against the actual board of Olympus. He is washing dirty laundry in public, at the risk of downing the company. I'm sure there were better ways of dealing with the problem. He doesn't cease to insinuate that he is willing to return to the Company if the share holders want him. He is campaigning for his own power, but doesn't seem to have much consideration for the future of the company, unless he can lead it himself. The more we hear form him and the more I think that what we see is just a harsh fight for power and that he is ready to scratch everything to get what he wants. And if he doesn't too bad for the company, he doesn't really care.

1 upvote
M1963
By M1963 (Dec 1, 2011)

That's all very well, but us the photographers often tend to forget Olympus is not just a photography company. The photo business accounts for just 15,5% of the company's assets, so it is not as relevant as we may think. This scandal has little to do with sensor size and display resolution.

0 upvotes
cxsparc
By cxsparc (Dec 1, 2011)

I think some here underestimate the corruption and the inertia of changing things at Olympus. When things have gone wrong for decades, just announcing it will not clean up the company

0 upvotes
CollBaxter
By CollBaxter (Dec 1, 2011)

I think the lady doth protest too much.

Interviews with reference to Comic book hero , Blue capes , David Grisham.

Done just after Olympus said they would meet the JSE December 14 audited report deadline to avoid delisting. As Olympus stock recovers what appears to be well timed releases drive it down again.

Et tu, Brute ?

Mirror , Mirror , on the wall .............

I do not agree with what Olympus did. But something is rotten in the WHOLE state on Denmark.

2 upvotes
MichaelKJ
By MichaelKJ (Dec 1, 2011)

I think it is now clear that Woodford has been planning this power play for some time.

0 upvotes
rrr_hhh
By rrr_hhh (Dec 1, 2011)

Absolutely, I agree with that : Woodford is a shark who is trying to take control of Olympus. Whether he will be able to get the shareholders to vote for him, I'm not sure, unless he has a group of businessmen supporting him in the background and buying the devalued Olympus shares.

1 upvote
elleyyh
By elleyyh (Dec 1, 2011)

Things like this happens all the times in corporation and businesses. This 9 year old CEO British shouldn't had been CEO in the first place.
This Guy doesn't know what is business is.

2 upvotes
gogo2
By gogo2 (Dec 1, 2011)

Sound like you're from third world country.

0 upvotes
oselimg
By oselimg (Dec 1, 2011)

Oh yes when banks in USA were giving away credit to people who are not eligible and manipulating the financial markets with very shoddy instruments there fore causing one of the biggest financial crisis in it's history the CEO's were from the third world also weren't they...or was it the Palestinian central bank caused the crisis?

2 upvotes
elleyyh
By elleyyh (Dec 1, 2011)

hi GOGO2, what does third world country have to do with this? Isn't the 1st world is the most corrupted? I do not want to start an argument but please do not put down 3rd world countries. They're people like you and me.

I think in my opinion Mr. Woodford should just keep things within closed door and clean up the messed with in the board. He doesn't need to blow everything up. It's clearly visible that he has intention to mess up the company after they fired him as CEO but still keep in on board. He's not manly enough to stand this.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
1 upvote
rrr_hhh
By rrr_hhh (Dec 1, 2011)

Hi Elleyyh,

I think that Woodford is a shark : he didn't hesitate to risk downing the company by washing dirty laundry publically. Since the case broke out, he is continually hinting to the fact that if he is called to put things in order he will commit. So this is nothing new. Neither is it that he is talking of shareholders, but apart of the same Southwestern assets management fund, which only has about 7% of the shares, we don't hear of many others.. So unless Woodford is able to create a group of shareholder buying shares in the background, he is betting big.. but I'm not sure whether he will win in the end. Those who lost are probably the employees.

1 upvote
elleyyh
By elleyyh (Dec 1, 2011)

Exactlly rrr hhh, its personal. A right manly grown up professional ceo will just keep things within the company but this cry baby keeps on shooting. If he cares about the company then he needs to take example like the other ceos.

0 upvotes
Zvonimir Tosic
By Zvonimir Tosic (Dec 2, 2011)

rrr_hhh wrote:
" So unless Woodford is able to create a group of shareholder buying shares in the background, he is betting big.. but I'm not sure whether he will win in the end. Those who lost are probably the employees."

So rather than clean the things up, which in a corrupt environment can only be done from the outside (or otherwise he'd be silenced) he'd better be to shut up and leave the board to continue screwing up the whole company and the employees?
In your 'logic' everyone is involved in some kind of conspiracy, which by itself shows a total lack of any logic in your argument.

0 upvotes
stuntmonkey
By stuntmonkey (Dec 1, 2011)

Olympus got called out because of an extraordinary set of circumstances. The practice of hiding losses the way they did is likely going on at other companies, though. Medical endoscopy is huge for them... imaging not so much. They sort of need imaging to keep some of the high tech catchet for their endoscopy systems, though... Olympus is good with scopes but not so much with the actual endoscopy cameras themselves.... IMHO, they only need to sell imaging in the short term to fend off a a hostile acquisition or if it turns out there are huge shortfalls cash/liabilities that are uncovered because of the recent escapade.

0 upvotes
Bilgy_no1
By Bilgy_no1 (Dec 1, 2011)

"The practice of hiding losses the way they did is likely going on at other companies, though."
It begins to look now that they were not hiding operational losses. Rather, they were hiding losses from bad investments in the 1990's by illegal constructions. In effect, they actually suppressed the operational performance.

This way of hiding investment losses seems to have led to a scandal in Japan in the late 1990's. That does suggest a wider application of the method at least in those days.

0 upvotes
sunhorse
By sunhorse (Dec 2, 2011)

@Bilgy_no1

The practice of hiding investment losses in Japan is common. It's called "tobashi" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tobashi_scheme

0 upvotes
gogo2
By gogo2 (Dec 1, 2011)

Is my support for Olympus product makes me support Yakuza in Japan?

0 upvotes
anthony mazzeri
By anthony mazzeri (Dec 1, 2011)

Yakuza brand cameras? ;)

0 upvotes
Corne Ferreira
By Corne Ferreira (Dec 1, 2011)

If you make a bad photo off goes the finger, one way to teach photography B)

1 upvote
Bilgy_no1
By Bilgy_no1 (Dec 1, 2011)

Camera designs with cool tattoo patterns of dragons... Makes Pentax colour designs look like child's play...

1 upvote
Absolutic
By Absolutic (Dec 1, 2011)

I hope Olympus does not go the way other iconic companies like Minolta, Konika, and Yashika went ): Kodak next.... The less companies there are, the less competition there is. Pentax is almost dead. Its the big five now: Canon, Nikon, Fuji, Sony and Panasonic.

0 upvotes
Raist3d
By Raist3d (Dec 1, 2011)

Pentax is almost dead? I guess you haven't read the news and the new charge under Ricoh…

Take a look: www.pentaximaging.com (USA website)

Comment edited 23 seconds after posting
3 upvotes
Absolutic
By Absolutic (Dec 1, 2011)

Seriously, I missed that news! I am happy to read that Pentax is alive!

0 upvotes
M Jesper
By M Jesper (Dec 1, 2011)

Also, Sony=Minolta !

0 upvotes
M1963
By M1963 (Dec 1, 2011)

That was Konica Minolta before Sony killed it. And Yashica still makes cameras, albeit of the p&s variety. That said I wouldn't like Olympus to end like Minolta. If, as many people predict, Panasonic buys Olympus imaging division, the brand will have the same fate as National and Technics.

0 upvotes
photomiser
By photomiser (Dec 1, 2011)

Hmm. Any chance they'd sell off that "loss-making" camera division? The Olympus name is so iconic, I can't imagine it on a camera not manufactured by them. But then again, IBM sold off the ThinkPad...

Comment edited 29 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Bilgy_no1
By Bilgy_no1 (Dec 1, 2011)

loss making 'imaging' division. Consumer camera is only part of that business. Apparently, the camera business is just regaining profitability. The biggest problems will be in the compact camera segment. I think they made some changes in the line up that help achieve better profile and sales. But it takes time after years of only producing cheap, unprofiled and underperforming compact cameras.

As to the name, it would be strange if they sell off the camera business and it continues to carry the same name as another company that manufactures and sells medical devices.

Comment edited 57 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
MichaelKJ
By MichaelKJ (Dec 1, 2011)

If the imaging division is regaining profitability it will be more attractive to potential buyers. Oly won't want to sell it but it appears that it is going to have to sell something to meet creditors' demands.

0 upvotes
MichaelKJ
By MichaelKJ (Dec 1, 2011)

>As to the name, it would be strange if they sell off the camera business and it continues to carry the same name as another company that manufactures and sells medical devices.

That is exactly what Hoya did. It sold its Pentax camera division including the Pentax name to Ricoh, but kept the Pentax name for its medical division.

0 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (Dec 1, 2011)

The racing and public-facing bits of engineering company Cosworth ended up both using the name for several years after separating. The contact lens business 'Ciba vision' is no longer connected to the specialty chemicals company Ciba. It's not particularly uncommon.

Better still, look at the fun the two drug companies called Merck are having over who gets to use the name on Facebook.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
bigalsurpal
By bigalsurpal (Dec 3, 2012)

I personally worked with Mike Woodford some years ago and the British division,Olympus Key-Med Ltd was , without a doubt the best company I have ever worked for.
The ethos in the British division which stills manufactures rigid endoscope systems, as far as I know, was without question of where hard work, honesty and integrity reaped reward with the company. This perhaps over-simplifies the regime in place then but Mike Woodford started off as a humble medical endoscopy salesman within the company which was originally started by an eccentric, very business aware Yorkshireman called Albert Reddihough, a force to be reckoned with!!!
sh!!!!

0 upvotes
bigalsurpal
By bigalsurpal (Dec 3, 2012)

I believe that this gives a very brief insight into the origins of the company ethos that Mike Woodford was brought up in and felt totally comfortable in and was very successful in and which perpetuated his meteoric climb to the higher echelons of the parent company, Olympus.
I was shocked at the revelations as much as anyone but felt that if anyone could cleanse and set Olympus on the straight and narrow was Mike Woodford.
Ps I was dismissed for poor admin although I was the best industrial salesman in the uk for a number of years. So there is no love lost. I believe my opinion carries even more weight because of my experience with Olympus. pps I am Scottish!!!!

0 upvotes
Total comments: 85