Exposure: Inside the Olympus Scandal: How I Went from CEO to Whistleblower

Exposure Inside the Olympus Scandal How I Went from CEO to Whistleblower It was no comfort to know that I was making history for the forced removal of a company president is almost unheard of in Japan I rose quietly left the room and holding my head high walked back to

  • Title: Exposure: Inside the Olympus Scandal: How I Went from CEO to Whistleblower
  • Author: Michael Woodford
  • ISBN: 9781591845751
  • Page: 115
  • Format: Hardcover
  • It was no comfort to know that I was making history, for the forced removal of a company president is almost unheard of in Japan I rose quietly, left the room, and holding my head high, walked back to my office My main goal was to escape as quickly as possible The board had seemed scared why else would they have acted the way they did But just what were they scared of It was no comfort to know that I was making history, for the forced removal of a company president is almost unheard of in Japan I rose quietly, left the room, and holding my head high, walked back to my office My main goal was to escape as quickly as pos sible The board had seemed scared why else would they have acted the way they did But just what were they scared of When Michael Woodford was made president of Olympus the company to which he had dedi cated thirty years of his career he became the first Westerner ever to climb the ranks of one of Japan s corporate giants Some wondered at the appointment how could a gaijin who didn t even speak Japanese understand how to run a Japanese company But within months Wood ford had gained the confidence of most of his colleagues and shareholders Unfortunately, soon after, his dream job turned into a nightmare.The trouble began when Woodford learned about a series of bizarre mergers and aquisi tions deals totaling 1.7 billion a scandal that threatened to bring down the entire company if exposed He turned to his fellow executives including the chairman who had promoted him Tsuyoshi Kikukawa for answers But instead of being heralded as a hero for trying to save the company, Woodford was met with vague responses and hostility a clear sign of a cover up Undeterred, he demanded to be made CEO so he could have leverage with his board and continue to search for the truth Then, just weeks after being granted the top title, he was fired in a boardroom coup that shocked Japan and the business world at large Worried his for mer bosses might try to silence him, Woodford immediately fled the country in fear of his life and went straight to the press making him the first CEO of a global multinational to blow the whistle on his own company.Following his dismissal, Woodford faced months of agonizing pressure that at times threatened his health and his family life But instead of suc cumbing he persisted, and eventually the men who had ousted him were held to account Now, Woodford recounts his almost unbelievable true story from the e mail that first alerted him to the scandal, to the terrifying rumors of involve ment with the Japanese mafia, to the stream of fruitless denials that continued to emanate from Olympus in an effort to cover up the scandal He also paints a devastating portrait of corporate Japan an insular, hierarchy driven culture that prefers maintaining the status quo to exposing ugly truths.The result is a deeply personal memoir that reads like a thriller narrative As Woodford puts it, I thought I was going to run a health care and consumer electronics company, but found I had walked into a John Grisham novel.

    One thought on “Exposure: Inside the Olympus Scandal: How I Went from CEO to Whistleblower”

    1. I love a good corporate scandal, and the shady goings-on in Olympus—and the dramatic fashion in which they were revealed to the world, by their own CEO—were especially intriguing, especially since an examination of their cause promised to offer an insight into how Japanese corporate culture differs so dramatically from the West's. I was also looking forward to reading this because Woodford wrote it himself, which is unusual—most of these types of books are ghost-written, or co-authored. An [...]

    2. What he had done is encouraging. The main problem of this book was that it should not include Mr.Woodford's personal life into it. I was expecting to see more detailed information about this corporate scandals. How this big company beatified its financial reports to cover its loss. If I wanted to see a novelistic story, I'd read John Grisham. The ego of Mr.Woodford bothered me from the very beginning. He enjoyed being served by flight attendant. He portraited himself as Michael Jackson and Georg [...]

    3. I promise I have not rated this harshly because Woodford professed his admiration of Thatcher. Honest. Rather, whilst there clearly is an interesting story here and the potential to explore key differences in the way Japanese businesses run vs. other 'Western' businesses, my problem was that I found the writing style clunky and awkward and Woodford himself to come across as pretty annoying. I know he did a brave thing but seriously, listing all his plaudits, talking at length about how people wo [...]

    4. This is a good read to learn what happened inside of the well known Japanese company, Olympus.I really think it was so difficult to fight and correct the problems of the company from the inside, even author became the leader of the company. We can learn his struggle as a top of the company and we know what he did was absolute right.Mr.Woodford first published his book "Terminated (Kainin)" in April from Hayakawa Shobo in Japan.This English book and the Japanese one shares a lot of same storyline [...]

    5. The greatest tragedy is that nothing changed in the end. Lacking any sort of moral compass, Olympus followed in the footsteps of so many Japanese companies (e.g. Mitsubishi Motors, TEPCO etc) by showing no sincere regret about the fraud but plenty of anguish about the fact that it was made public. More alarmingly, its banks and corporate stakeholders did the same, closing ranks to dilute existing (especially non-Japanese) shareholders and appoint managers cut from the same cloth as those who per [...]

    6. This book was definitely hard to put down. One of the reasons I loved it so much is because he mentions places and things that relate to me very closely. Such as the fact that he is from Liverpool and describes his childhood there. I'm also from Liverpool and put a smile on my face to hear some of the scouse phrases. I also happened to live at the Hyatt hotel in Germany for a couple months as a small child but then moved to the suburbs. Some people on the reviews seem to be judging Mr. Woodford [...]

    7. I grabbed this book in a hurry at a used book sale because of mention on the cover of John Grisham. Turned out to be non-fiction, which I seldom read. Turned out to be a solid, if slightly self-indulgent piece of writing, that kept me entertained right through with it's insight into Japanese business and the tribulations of whistleblowing. My hat off to Woodford.

    8. It's an interesting cross-cultural perspective, and a great boardroom swashbuckler memoir. My problem is that Michael Woodford comes off a little petulant and unsympathetic, so it doesn't have quite the impact as it could.

    9. By Quentin WebbSociety and markets need whistle-blowers. But it’s hard, lonely work. Michael Woodford’s “Exposure” details first-hand how the maverick executive blew the whistle on a $1.7 billion accounting scandal at Olympus, the company he ran. His integrity makes him a welcome outlier in an age of financial scandal.Soon after becoming president of the Japanese electronics group in April 2011, Woodford was alerted to a series of odd, costly acquisitions. These included obscure companie [...]

    10. It's fast and authentic. The story is good, and the topic is important. We are left to wonder - how many other companies are controlled by "club management" that essentially destroys value? How far have we advances in corporate governance? But is we come out of the book with another ugly exemple of bad corporate governance, Woodford saves no words to accuse directly the "Corporate Japan network". As he repeats throughout the book, not once during the Olympus scandal did the Japanese shareholders [...]

    11. While it reads like a crime thriller, the book definitely brings out the dire need of corporate governance in its true sense. SOX is present, J-SOX is present and so is a number of ways in which organisations are supposed to run. But still we see the corporate world riddled with the likes of Olympus like events, and or the Satyam scam.The questions then is, what is it that is not working time and again?The book is an awesome account of how breaches in corporate governance needs to be dealt with. [...]

    12. A shocking scandal exposing criminal activity in a major Japanese/global corporation. Woodford rose from humble beginnings the top of the corporate pile, and in a Japanese company where both the East and West note considerable cultural differences. To achieve this is an incredible challenge and Woodford is clearly special and talented. As a one company man his devotion and loyalty to Olympus must have been absolute. Within weeks of achieving this lifetime ambition he sets himself on a path to un [...]

    13. I was very interested to hear the story of what went wrong at Olympus, but was very disappointed in this book. It's difficult to be sympathetic to a narrator who tells how much he loves Japanese women bowing at his feet while putting slippers on them in the first class cabin of an airplane, bemoans the loss of his chauffeur-driven Bentley and his Jaguar, and seems to need to give us the address of every UK and US restaurant he eats at with friends (while describing his Japanese dining experience [...]

    14. Michael Woodford's inside story on his whistle-blowing antics at Olympus is a sensational read. The author Pulls no punches regarding the doubts he went through in terms of the effects on his family and on the tens of thousands of ordinary employees of the company. Woodford walks the reader through his journey from realisation to the final resignations of most of the board members involved in scandals and thefts at Olympus.The intricate web of lies and channels through which funds were illegally [...]

    15. How to judge a real-life book about the photography industry (well, sort of), that reads like an all-out crime triller? It was a very pleasant read, for sure, and rather exciting to boot, but I've got to say; I doubt a person is able to climb their way from salesman to CEO of a multinational without ever having mis-stepped: I can't shake the feeling that we're not getting the full story (great as it is), and the carefully crafted 'I never did anything wrong ever' taste of this book just doesn't [...]

    16. Important to go through such books.Japanese culture, the experiences of a gaijin in Japan, and how incentives work in strong ways - a lie started has to be perpetuated.What I found amazing was how seemingly ignorant the CEO was; is it really believable that a new CEO had not questioned such a large acquisition of Gyrus for a high valuation?The CEO also seems quite used to his plush life of fancy homes, hotels, and first class travel.That said, his whistle blowing was a lot of fun to read about, [...]

    17. I attended a guest lecture where Michael Woodford spoke about his experience as a whistleblower and I bought the book to learn a bit more about his experiences.The book is a very personal account of Woodford's experiences whistleblowing in a company he worked for for 30 years and the consequences of highlighting financial irregularities. For a book with major themes of corporate governance, business and financial practices it is a surprisingly engaging read and isn't dry at all. I enjoyed the in [...]

    18. This books provides an inside account of the Olympus scandal, one of the largest corporate scandals ever and perhaps the largest in modern Japanese history. If you wanted to know how the few months around the scandal--before and after--played out, this books goes into great detail. However, it doesn't really explain in detail what the fraud was and how it concealed, who benefitted, and where the money went (it touches on it a bit but it isn't much). This book also provides good insight into what [...]

    19. This is a fascinating book about the Olympus scandal that rocked the corporate world but, in the end, didn't end up changing a lot in Japan unfortunately. This book is the true story of how Woodford stood up against the corporate titans, to which he had just been named, and took them to task. He demanded to know what had gone on when he became aware of financial activities that didn't appear to be above board. His instincts were right and he took the situation into the public arena where it was [...]

    20. Interesting story, giving insights into Japanese corporate culture. It is told in an engaging way and I have seen him speak at a conference and his speaking style is also very engaging and similar to his writing style (or vice-versa). I did find that he came across as possibly a bit arrogant, a bit of a name dropper (maybe these are needed to explain the story), and even though he claimed to be a simple man (kind of), he still took every chance he had to tell us about his trips to fancy places a [...]

    21. An well-written expose of the financial shenanigans at Olympus, a Japanese manufacturer of cameras and medical equipment. Mr. Woodford discovered some financial irregularities just after he was appointed CEO, and gave the Board the opportunity to explain. Instead they fired him. He had the courage to blow the whistle. Justice was done (except the instiutional investors/banks in Japan put their head in the sand and didn't bring him back, which is a shame.). A very enjoyable read, lots of intrigue [...]

    22. I knew from prior reading about the events as to what had happened. The book turned out to be an elaborate version of those, with bits of personal life of the author, the company, his friends, family, employees and the country.Apart from the two decade old issue that was covered up for so long, which by itself is intriguing, the details of professionally working in Japan as a high ranking business executive are quite fascinating - something that I had no idea about.If one is already aware of wha [...]

    23. Michael Woodford does a superb job in describing his saga at Olympus in Japan. Quite interesting insight as to the boardroom culture in Japan. It is highly unfortunate that Mr. Woodford could not continue at Olympus and turn the company around, because Olympus does have great endoscopy business. It only would have been proper for Mr.Woodford to bring Olympus back to its heights, but perhapd that would be wishful thinking with the board, along with Japanese banks do not put shareholders' best int [...]

    24. A fascinating insight behind the scenes of a huge corporate fraud case from the recent past. The behind-the-scenes machinations not only reveal the problems with the business culture at Olympus and in Japan but also point to some of the reasons for the current distrust the world has for corporate culture in general. It's also a powerful view of the personal impact on someone who made the brave decision to take on massive fraud head on.At times the book loses focus but overall it's a compelling r [...]

    25. I really liked this book, but if possible I would give it 3.5 stars. Really my only criticism is that the book was focused too much on Michael Woodford himself. At times, it almost felt like he was justifying that what he was doing was really correct. On the lacking side of things, I was waiting for the part of the book with the explanation of how exactly the scheme worked. However, only about five pages were spent on that aspect, and I would have appreciated a more in-depth explanation. Overall [...]

    26. An interesting narrative, especially because it is an insider look, that is done in by the constant throw-back to the humdrum minutiae. The book could have done well with - [1] stronger editing to bring out the story in crisp detail and, [2] put the decisions in their context rather than putting them out as if they were meeting minutes.The ugly nature of the scandal aside, it is probably the first time I am reading a CEO himself taking up the time to explain what went downhill. That's probably t [...]

    27. Exposure can hardly be described as a balanced account (according to Japanese friends, Woodford is seen to have over-egged the publicity pudding and unashamedly thrust himself to the front and centre of the story. Nonetheless it makes for a fascinating and, in this case, singularly unedifying insight into the culture of the keiretsu and big business in Japan. It is also an excellent example of how a rogue employee (or two) can bring a reputable company to its knees through bitter resolve and sma [...]

    28. This book is a testament to the fact that crimes doesn't pay. Michael Woodford became a world famous whistleblower when he discovered a major fraud and conspiracy in the company he worked for, Olympus. Once he had brought the discrepancies to his colleagues, he was quickly fired. But Woodford did not go quietly into the night, alarming the newspapers and investigative agencies. Michael Woodford is one of those heroes no one really recognizes. This book was a great read; a thrilling, edge-of-your [...]

    29. The book seems to aim to cover both the author's rise to the top as well as the corporate scandal that rocked the company; however the detail on both stories was lacking a bit for me. That said It was enjoyable read, and at times hard to put down. I am hoping that the author provides some further material in the future that builds on both his career progress and the mechanics of the corporate governance scandal.

    30. This real life boardroom story reads like a thriller by the best.The effect on Michael and his wife is devastating and we get the FBI involved, the Serious Fraud Office and Scotland Yard. For serious readers who are interested in the media, in banking, in business and how international businesses fail.Without integrity nothing works and Michael's integrity shines through.I recommend this book

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *