Former Olympus Executive on Why He Blew The Whistle

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Michael Woodford, former president of Japan's optical giant Olympus. (Jiji Press/Getty)

Japanese company Olympus was founded in 1919 with the goal of making microscopes. But now, after a series of shocking accounting revelations the microscope is being turned on Olympus. The camera company admitted on Tuesday to a decades-long scheme to hide almost a billion dollars in investment losses. It is Japan's biggest financial scandal since the bubble of the 90s, and it has rattled stakeholders and shareholders worldwide.

The whistle was blown by president and CEO of Olympus Corporation operations Michael Woodford, who asked some very public questions about what happened to some obscure fees and acquisitions. Woodford’s questions were answered with a pink slip — but not before he brought down the fury of the Department of Justice, the FBI, Securities and Exchange Commissions in the U.S. and its counterparts in Japan and the U.K.

Former president and CEO of Olympus Corporation operations Michael Woodford discusses why he blew the whistle. Woodford remains a director on Olympus Corporation's board. Louise Story, Wall Street and finance reporter for The New York Times, talks about the wider picture of corporate malfeasance.

Guests:

Louise Story and Michael Woodford

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