Olympus replaces CEO as scrutiny of past deals grows

Olympus chief Tsuyoshi Kikukawa steps down after less than two weeks on the job as local media focus on suspicious deals.

Olympus abruptly replaced its CEO on Wednesday after less than two weeks on the job, as pressure continues to build on the company over questionable deals in recent years.

The Japanese manufacturer of cameras and medical equipment has been at the center of a growing scandal over large fees it paid for acquisitions in the past. A former head of the company says he was forced out when he tried to investigate, and media reports say the company is now under investigation by authorities in three countries. The company's share price has lost more than half its value since Oct. 14.

The Tokyo-based company said Wednesday night it was installing Shuichi Takayama as its new CEO, replacing Tsuyoshi Kikukawa.

Kikukawa took over less than two weeks ago for British CEO Michael Woodford, who the company said at the time had "largely diverted from the rest of the management team."

Woodford immediately went public with a series of high-profile interviews, alleging he was fired when he challenged the company's board over a series of acquisitions that cost nearly $800 million and later lost most of their value, including for companies that made things like face cream and plastic containers for microwave ovens. He also questioned nearly $700 million in payments to two financial advisers in a separate deal for medical tech firm Gyrus, over a third of the total $2 billion purchase price.

As news of the scandal unfolded, media around the world have reported that the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, Britain's Serious Fraud Office, and Japan's Securities and Exchange Surveillance Commission are investigating.

In recent days Japanese media coverage of the ordeal has increased, with the country's largest business newspaper, the Nikkei, calling for a complete investigation and full disclosure of the results.

A brief message from incoming CEO Takayama was posted prominently on the company's website Wednesday, apologizing to customers, partners and shareholders.

"The acquisitions covered in newspapers and other media were carried out with appropriate valuations and procedures. There has been absolutely no wrongdoing, but we are preparing to form a third party which will impartially investigate the matter," he said in the message.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags business issuespersonnellegalbusiness managementFinancial regulation and complianceOlympus

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jay Alabaster

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?