Former Olympus CEO Michael Woodford, who blew the whistle on one of Japan?s biggest corporate scandals, has abandoned his fight to return to the company.

Woodford now plans to sue Olympus for unfair dismissal, he is reported to have told journalists in Tokyo.

Though the Briton won support from foreign investors in his bid to return to the top job, he faced an uphill struggle to win over large, Japan-based, shareholders.

In a statement issued to the press, including Amateur Photographer Woodford said last night: ?I feel sad that I have not been able to deliver the expectations of so many, but to continue, without the support of the Japanese institutional shareholders, would have been counter-productive.’

?I still think we could have won the proxy fight, but to go back with that fracture would have been a horrible situation and damaging for all.?

He added: ?The last 12 weeks have been the most emotionally demanding and challenging period in my entire life.

?The brutal way I was dismissed as President on 14 October, and the subsequent lies and denials, have been traumatising for all those around me, especially my family.

?It?s been a frightening period for my wife, who has suffered a lot and every night still wakes screaming in a trance and it takes several minutes to calm her.

?She finds the uncertainty and hostility of the public fight difficult to cope with and I have therefore decided for her emotional wellbeing that I cannot put her through any more anguish, and will today withdraw from any further action to form an alternative slate of directors.?

In response to Woodford’s reported legal action, an Olympus Tokyo spokesperson told Amateur Photographer: ‘We do not have any comment since we don’t have any, or know, the details.’

In December, Japanese prosecutors raided Olympus’s Tokyo HQ searching evidence of criminal wrongdoing after the firm admitted to the £1.1 billion financial scandal.

Woodford, who worked at Olympus for 30 years, thanked his supporters: ‘When I’ve walked in the streets or eaten in restaurants, so many individuals have come up to tell me that what I was doing was the right thing.

‘While I’ve always loved your country, my affections have only been enhanced by the numerous acts of kindness and human warmth which has been extended to me during these difficult weeks.

‘Japan is a truly great nation and I will continue to come back frequently to enjoy all it has to offer and, of course, to see my many friends.’

Last month Woodford won a businessperson of the year award.

Woodford was named Businessperson of the Year by the Independent newspaper ‘in recognition of his fightback after he was sacked for blowing the whistle on the company’s dirty secret’.

In an article headlined ‘Unbowed Despite The Death Threats’ the newspaper paid tribute to the Briton’s ‘courage and spirited fightback’, as he faced ‘threat of attacks by potential assassins’.

Woodford (pictured), who campaigned to be reinstated as Olympus CEO, gave a lengthy interview to Amateur Photographer (AP) in November.

At the time Woodford was receiving police protection and he advised AP not to reveal the location of the interview, which followed rumours that the scandal may be linked to Japan’s criminal underworld.

To read the full Independent article click HERE.

To read AP’s interview with Woodford click HERE.

[Picture: C Cheesman]



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