Whistleblowing at the top: Olympus CEO turned Whistleblower

… headlines NACD annual conference – Published on National Association of Corporate Directors NACD, by Henry Stoever, July 8, 2013.

Few corporate leaders possess the courage displayed by former Olympus President and CEO Michael Woodford when he blew the whistle on Olympus—a company he spent 30 years serving. The National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) is pleased to announce Woodford as a keynote speaker at its annual Board Leadership Conference on Oct. 13-15 in Washington, D.C.  

Woodford assumed the role of president at Olympus in February 2011, and shortly after discovered $1.7 billion in accounting fraud. After raising a red flag, he was fired. Woodford pushed his story into the public arena through the media and through filing reports with the Serious Fraud Office in London. News of the fraud caused a shake-up at the camera and medical devices manufacturer, eventually leading to guilty pleas from several executives and a new slate of corporate directors.

In his keynote address, Woodford will share experiences from his book—Exposure: Inside the Olympus Scandal: How I Went From CEO to Whistleblower—about how he confronted both the Japanese culture that prizes groupthink and shareholders who were more distressed by negative publicity surrounding the scandal than by the fraud.

Woodford’s story is also being made into a movie. The Ink Factory, with support of Film 4, has obtained film rights to Exposure. “This is a story about the frailties of human nature and at its heart, loyalty, and betrayal,” Woodford said in a press release. “I hope that it will reach out to people who will engage with it both as a human drama and as a meaningful metaphor of our time” … //

… (full text).

Links:

Exposing Fraud at Any Cost, Interview with Michael Woodford, on NACD Directorship, by Cheryl Soltis Martel, March 14, 2013;

National Association of Corporate Directors NACD/Contact.

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