Now Olympus’ Chairman and President Kikukawa Quits

Bloomberg Businessweek follows up the recent events at Olympus Corp by reporting that Chairman and President Tsuyoshi Kikukawa has quit after allegations over acquisitions wiped out more than half the company’s market value in two weeks, and as the chief executive officer he fired prepares to meet U.S. criminal investigators.
“What you want is answers. Why was the $687 million paid? Who was it paid to?”: Michael Woodford.

Shuichi Takayama, head of the unprofitable camera division, succeeded Kikukawa as president, Olympus said in a statement to the Tokyo Stock Exchange yesterday. Kikukawa will remain as a director, it said.

Kikukawa’s resignation after almost five decades at the camera and medical-devices company follows the ouster 13 days ago of Michael C. Woodford as president. Olympus cited differences over his management style. Woodford says he was fired for challenging $687 million of fees paid in a 2008 takeover, and that the entire board of the company is “toxic” and must be replaced.

“What we want is the truth about what really happened, not a new president,” said Shintaro Shinohara, who helps oversee about $130 billion as head of equities at Prudential Investment Management Japan Co. “It’s unlikely the new president can change the corporate culture that’s the cause of this trouble given he’s drawn from the old board.”

Shares of Olympus have declined by 56 percent since Woodford, the 92-year-old company’s first non-Japanese president, was ousted Oct. 14. The stock fell 7.6 percent to close at 1,099 yen in Tokyo trading yesterday. The statement from Olympus came after the market shut.

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Source Businessweek