Olympus ousted CEO to visit Japan

Sat Dec 10, 2011 7:15am EST
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By Tim Kelly

TOKYO (Reuters) - Olympus Corp's ousted CEO, Michael Woodford, flies to Japan on Tuesday to press on with a battle to win back his job, as media reported that prosecutors plan to raid the homes of suspects in a $1.7 billion accounting fraud at the camera maker.

Woodford wants to meet potential candidates for a new management team for which he will also seek shareholder and investor backing when the board comes up for election at an extraordinary shareholders' meeting, possibly in February.

He will leave Japan on Friday morning, an assistant in Tokyo said in an e-mail.

The visit comes as Olympus prepares to issue its earnings before a Wednesday deadline in order to avoid being delisted by the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

Even if it does meet the deadline, the 92-year-old maker of endoscopes and cameras could still be dumped from the exchange if its accounting misstatements were large enough.

The board, slammed in an independent report on the accounting scandal dragging down the company, has said it plans to stay in place for the time being.

Nearly all the current directors served during Olympus's 13-year cover-up of investment losses.

Olympus President Shuichi Takayama said on Wednesday that the earliest an extraordinary meeting to pick the new board could be held was late-February.   Continued...