Former Olympus chief Michael Woodford (center)  (Source: IBN Live)
Former CEO Michael Woodford says he was fired for looking into improper payments

Olympus is a major player in the world of digital cameras and precision instruments. The Japanese firm has been rocked recently by allegations of inappropriate payments related to acquisitions. Former CEO Michael Woodford, who was fired after only two weeks on the job, made the allegations.
Woodford alleges that he was fired when he began to probe allegations of improper payments during acquisitions. Woodford said in a recent interview that he asked chairman Tsuyoshi Kikukawa to resign from the board due to what Reuters called "serious governance issues."
"The dismissal of the president has shattered equity market expectations of structural reform at the firm," Deutsche analyst Yoshikazu Higurashi wrote in a report.
Olympus for its part is denying that there was any wrongdoing. The situation has sent shares of Olympus stock down 24%. That is the lowest stock price for the company in over two years.
An Olympus spokesman said, "There were deep rifts between Mr. Woodford and the rest of management concerning the direction of the company and steps needed to be taken, and the situation was such that it was hampering decision-making."
Woodford was at the head of the cost cutting charge that many analysts and investors thought would help bring the company back to profitability as its digital camera arm is struggling. 

Woodford has also met with fraud prosecutors in order to air any dirty laundry that may be lurking in Olympus' closet according to BusinessWeek. “I met with the serious fraud squad to pass on the core documents,” stated Woodford. “I'm not saying fraud has taken place, I'm just making sure the authorities have all the documents because the payments were made from the U.K.”

Sources: Reuters, BBC News, BusinessWeek

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