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Factbox: Key players in the Olympus scandal
November 30, 2011 / 2:37 AM / in 6 years

Factbox: Key players in the Olympus scandal

TOKYO (Reuters) - Following are some facts on key people in the accounting scandal engulfing Japan’s Olympus Corp, which has admitted to hiding losses from investors for two decades.

MICHAEL WOODFORD

The Liverpool-born 51-year-old had worked for the Olympus group for 30 years before being promoted to president in April this year, making headlines as one of only a handful of foreigners to head a major Japanese company.

Fired on October 14, he left immediately for Britain and went public with his suspicions about the company’s past mergers and acquisitions and he campaigned for Olympus to come clean.

Woodford has made it clear he would be prepared to return to run the company if asked to do so by shareholders, but says he is not begging for his job back.

TSUYOSHI KIKUKAWA

A gravelly voiced chain smoker, who went by the nickname “Tom” among English speakers, Kikukawa, 70, has been accused by Woodford of running the company like an emperor in his decade as president.

After graduating from the prestigious Keio University, he joined Olympus in 1964 and worked his way up the corporate ladder via public relations, corporate planning, finance and accounting before taking the presidency in 2001.

Known for his cheerful personality and fondness for his pet poodles, Kikukawa stepped down on October 26 and has not appeared in public since he announced Woodford had been fired.

He quit as a member of the board last week, hours before he would have faced a boardroom showdown with Woodford.

HISASHI MORI

Mori joined Olympus in 1981 and rose relatively quickly to become executive vice president in April this year.

A former head of Olympus’s corporate social responsibility unit, Mori initially defended a series of merger and acquisition payments being questioned by Woodford. But he later confessed to current President Shuichi Takayama that the company had been systematically covering up losses for decades.

Japanese media have said Mori, 54, is suspected of having played the main role in the cover-up, including maintaining documents related to the transactions. He was fired for his involvement in the scheme, and resigned as a director last week.

HIDEO YAMADA

Yamada, 66, was appointed standing internal auditor in June this year, meaning he held the post during the period Woodford spent questioning past acquisitions. He had joined the company in 1963 at the age of 18 and has spent little time in the public eye. He resigned from his position last week.

MASATOSHI KISHIMOTO

Kishimoto joined Olympus in 1958, worked mainly on expanding the company’s business overseas and took over as president in 1993, stepping down in 2001. He served as chairman until 2005.

He received a number of awards from various governments for his contributions to industry, including a Japanese award for helping the camera industry adapt to the digital age. Digital cameras are one of a few high-tech products dominated by Japan.

Kishimoto’s predecessor as president, Toshiro Shimoyama, told the Nikkei business daily that Kishimoto had been in charge of finances during Shimoyama’s 1984-1993 presidency, which may be the period when losses were incurred on risky investments.

AKIO NAKAGAWA

A founding member of the Axes group that was awarded a huge $687 million advisory fee for a 2008 Olympus acquisition at the heart of the scandal, Nakagawa started out at Nomura Securities.

He later worked for a series of Western investment banks from the late 1970s to the 1990s, including a stint as head of the Tokyo operations of PaineWebber where he helped Olympus shuffle securities losses off its balance sheet, sources say.

Nakagawa started Axes (Japan) Securities Co in 1998 and worked closely with Hajime Sagawa, a former co-worker at PaineWebber, at Axes America LLC, the group’s U.S. arm.

Reporting by Isabel Reynolds; Editing by Mark Bendeich

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
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