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'It nearly killed me' - Ex-Olympus CEO Woodford looks back on crisis

By dpreview staff on Nov 28, 2012 at 22:30 GMT

Amateur Photographer Magazine in the UK has posted an interview with Michael Woodford, the former Olympus CEO-turned-whistleblower whose 2011 revelations about corporate mismanagement lead to mass resignations and major restructuring at the Japanese company.

In the interview, Woodford describes the strain on his personal life, from coping with his wife's anxiety following the exposure of the scandal to advice from British police to fit a reinforced front door and seal up the letterbox of his property in case his whereabouts became known to Japanese organized crime syndicates. 

Speaking of the strain on his marriage, Woodford told Amateur Photographer's Chris Cheesman 'we could have broken up [...] but I don't think that's unique to us. I think any marriage or couple who suffer extreme emotional [stress]... it doesn't make you together. It accentuates your differences. That is what happens in those situations. ‘There was enough love and shared experiences that we've managed to hold it together.'

Woodford's book about his experiences at Japanese camera
manufacturer Olympus is about to go on sale, and has been given
positive reviews ahead of its release. 

Woodford also describes the process of writing a book about the experience, and how after deciding to ditch his initial plan to use a ghost writer, he was forced to pass every word through three sets of lawyers, to avoid legal issues following its publication.  

Even after the very public breaking of the scandal last year, the former CEO told Cheesman that 'there are still areas where we just don't know the actual losses, their extent and specific nature. We don't know a lot about who received monies in the facilitation payments. We will never understand...

'As I say in my book, we've got more than you would ever dream of getting in a Japanese scandal... It's incomplete but we know, in general terms, the nature of the scheme, the motivations behind it. But we don't have the pounds, shillings and pence detail in some areas.'

After his dramatic exit from Olympus after just ten days as CEO, Woodford sued for unfair dismissal and was eventually awarded £10 million (~$16 million). In the interview he rejects suggestions that he is 'cashing in' on the crisis, explaining that most of the money will be donated to charities, including Reprieve, which promotes the cause of human rights across the globe.

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