NY Times: Olympus Shareholders Shake Off Scandal

April 20th, 2012

NY Times
April 20, 2012

TOKYO — There was the odd accusation of farce and kabuki theater, but Olympus had little trouble winning approval Friday for a new slate of directors at the first shareholders meeting since its $1.5 billion accounting scandal emerged, a reminder of the leeway Japanese investors still give to ill-performing boards.

The scandal, in which Olympus admitted hiding huge investment losses for decades, has wiped more than $4 billion off its market value.

Still, the Japanese maker of cameras and medical equipment maintained the backing during the vote from a solid voting bloc of institutional shareholders who have stood with the company’s management.

That go-ahead came despite opposition from some foreign and individual investors, as well as proxy advisers, who had called for a complete purge of the company’s top ranks. Some had also called for the return of Michael C. Woodford, Olympus’s former chief executive, who was fired when he tried to look into the company’s past finances.

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