Chairman of Olympus finally quits

Steve Dinneen
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If every axed employee dreams of taking their boss down with them, then Michael Woodford was living the dream yesterday.

All-powerful Olympus chairman Tsuyoshi Kikukawa (pictured) finally fell on his sword after the scandal engulfing his company showed no sign of abating.

Olympus, the 92-year-old camera-maker, has now lost more than half its value since former chief executive Woodford went public about what appear to be excessively large advisory fees paid in relation to a UK acquisition. Around $687m was paid to an offshore firm following the $2.2bn takeover – a percentage cut that has entered the record books.

The incident is now being investigated by regulators in Japan, the Financial Services Authority (FSA) in the UK and the FBI in the US.

Woodford said Kikukawa’s resignation was “a start” but added his replacement – Shuichi Takayama, a 41-year company veteran – had also failed to demand explanations about hefty fees linked to acquisitions.

Olympus denies any wrongdoing and is understood to be considering legal action over the leak of confidential information.

The firm claims Woodford was fired, after just two weeks into the job, for failing to adapt to the Japanese management style.