Ex-Olympus CEO Wins $15 Million Settlement, Company Announces Job Cuts

Michael Woodford Olympus whistleblowerBy Yuri Kageyama

TOKYO (AP) -- Former Olympus Corp. Chief Executive Michael Woodford will receive 10 million pounds (1.2 billion yen, $15.4 million) in a settlement over his dismissal from the Japanese camera and medical equipment maker. Olympus also announced it will cut nearly 3,000 jobs. Last week, both sides said they reached a settlement. Olympus disclosed the figure Friday, following approval from its board. It said the dispute was being brought to a close.

Woodford, a Briton, was fired in October after he blew the whistle on dubious accounting at Olympus.

The Tokyo-based company has acknowledged it hid 117.7 billion yen ($1.5 billion) in investment losses dating back to the 1990s.

Woodford sued in a British court, accusing Olympus of unlawful firing and discrimination in not treating him the same way as a Japanese executive.

The executives met without hearing from him and kicked him out, according to Woodford.

He welcomed the board's decision.

"In today's settlement between myself and the company we reached a fair and amicable agreement, and I would like to take this opportunity to wish the new board well in taking Olympus forward," he said in a statement from London. "It is a wonderful company with wonderful products and people and has a bright future ahead of it."

Olympus also said Friday it will cut 2,700 jobs, or 7 percent of its global work force, by the end of March 2014 as part of its cost-cutting efforts. It will scrap about 40 percent of its 30 manufacturing plants around the world by the end of March 2015.

The company forecast a profit of 7 billion yen ($88.6 million) for the fiscal year through March 2013. It had a loss of 49 billion yen ($620 million) for the previous year.

The image of Olympus has been badly tarnished over its handling of Woodford's whistleblowing.

It faces another high-profile whistleblowing case, unrelated to the accounting scandal, from a Japanese employee Masaharu Hamada.

Three former Olympus executives, including the company's ex-chairman, were arrested earlier this year on suspicion of orchestrating the accounting cover-up. The company has carried out its own investigation and is suing some executives for damages.

Woodford, a rare foreigner to lead a major Japanese company and the first at Olympus, has conceded he has given up on any comeback at the camera and medical equipment maker.

But he has expressed interest in returning to work in Japan. Woodford has become a hero in this nation, where outspoken people are rare and whistleblowers like Hamada have often been treated as outcasts.

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just another douche-bag getting money he probably doesn't need...

June 08 2012 at 11:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

And these people wonder why everyone hates them.

June 08 2012 at 9:34 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

Have I misread this article? I thought it said the company was cooking its books, and Woodford lost his job for whistleblowing. How exactly does he end up the villain for the crooked company he helped expose firing 2700 more in addition to him ?

June 08 2012 at 8:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to ppand's comment

Because people on this site are stupid and ignorant and don't actually read the articles, nevermind understand them

June 08 2012 at 11:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

He was likely making too much money while he was there, then they let him go and he gets more millions?

What is wrong with that picture?

June 08 2012 at 4:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Way to get your 15 million while 2,700 people are losing their jobs.

June 08 2012 at 4:10 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

And just what is wrong with this picture? How about EVERYTHING! The American people, who by the way, pay the salaries of these jackasses, are losing their jobs and this holier-than-thou wins millions because he lost his? Get real. This is ridiculous.

June 08 2012 at 3:13 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

3000 people got the shaft and this "individual" got $15-million - that's the story. What secrets did management buy with his silence and their discinclination to go to trial?

June 08 2012 at 2:03 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Typical of what's wrong today. Screw up, get paid anyway, let the peons take it in the rear This guy ought to be ashamed of himself. At least some of the Japanese involved had the decency to hang themselves.

June 08 2012 at 1:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

One those 1% - cut 3000 jobs and give a failure 15 million - sounds fair - to Teabags.

June 08 2012 at 1:36 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to cazsue's comment

Just proves how stupid you are.

June 08 2012 at 5:28 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

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