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Woodford in tense boardroom talks

business Updated: Nov 25, 2011 21:08 IST
Olympus Corp

The ex-CEO of Japan’s disgraced Olympus Corp attended what he called a tense but civilised board meeting on Friday with the directors who had sacked him, and said all hoped the firm could avoid being delisted over the scandal engulfing it.

But Michael Woodford, still an Olympus director despite being fired as CEO a month ago and blowing the whistle over the accounting scam, said there had been no talk of him returning to lead a clean-up of the once-proud maker of cameras and endoscopes.

“We had a constructive and honest exchange,” said Woodford.

“There is clearly a shared desire that the company's not delisted,” said Woodford, back in Japan for the first time since fleeing the country immediately after his October 14 sacking.

Olympus had fired Woodford, a rare foreign CEO in Japan, alleging he had failed to adapt to Japanese culture and the company’s management style. Woodford says he was axed for questioning dubious merger and acquisition payments.

“There was a tension in the room, but there seemed to be an understanding that it was in no one's interest to raise the temperature,” he said. “They didn't shake my hand and I didn't offer mine. We said good morning and goodbye.”