Olympus ex-CEO-turned-whistleblower’s first book to hit Japan in April

March 20th, 2012

LONDON – Michael Woodford, the sacked CEO-turned-whistleblower at Japan’s disgraced Olympus Corp , is to publish his memoir of one of Japan’s most high-profile frauds around the time of a key April shareholder vote to approve new managers at the company.

The Japanese edition will be followed in June by an English language account Woodford has likened to a John Grisham thriller.

The 300-page blockbuster is likely to keep up pressure on the company that fired Woodford after he revealed a $1.7 US billion accounting fraud last October.

“We want to move the Japanese version as quickly as possible, while it remains topical,” Woodford said in a telephone interview on Tuesday.

The Olympus shareholder meeting, scheduled for April 20, will be asked to approve a new management team to take over from the largely discredited board.

Woodford, a 30-year Olympus veteran who cut his teeth at the endoscope and camera maker as a UK salesman, has already kicked off a legal battle in London for wrongful dismissal on grounds of discrimination and whistleblowing.

Woodford, who spent much of his Olympus career in Britain where he owns two properties, hopes to be able to bring the case against Olympus in the East London Employment Tribunal.

If the case runs into problems over jurisdiction, Woodford, who is advised by UK law firm Simmons & Simmons, says he could still bring a defamation suit against Olympus in the UK High Court.

Olympus’s board fired Woodford on Oct. 14, 2011, just two weeks after his promotion to CEO. The company said he failed to understand its management style and Japanese culture.