On 1st October 2011, Michael Woodford was unanimously appointed CEO of Olympus, the multi-billion dollar Japanese camera company, having worked his way up through the ranks for decades. Just two weeks after taking up the role, he was dismissed from the board. He had become the first foreign CEO to rise to the top of a Japanese company, and he also became the first president to blow the whistle on his own business. Fast forward five months, and most of the board has resigned, its chairman arrested.
Soon after being appointed president, Woodford received reports that the company had invested huge money in completely unrelated and unprofitable businesses. But why would a camera company buy out a face cream company? Or a microwave dish company? And why had they paid such extortionate consulting fees to do so?
As he dug deeper, he realised, to his horror, that there was a $1.7 billion hole in their accounts, and that he, as newly appointed president, was supposed to be signing them off. And worse still, the trail seemed to lead towards organised crime.
Offering a fascinating insight into corporate governance and an outsider’s eye on Japanese business, EXPOSURE will tell the astonishing true story of Woodford’s time at the top of one of the world’s largest companies, and the corruption that he discovered there.
Michael Woodford grew up in Liverpool, and worked for Olympus for 30 years, becoming CEO on October 1st 2011. He is 51 years of age, married to Nuncy, a Spanish national, and they have two children, Edward 18 and Isabel 16. He is a keen runner and enjoys sailing.