Olympus Names Investigative Committee

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Tokyo -


Tuesday named the members of an outside committee to examine four controversial acquisitions that allegedly caused the firing of the company's former CEO and later to the resignation of the company's chairman, according to reports from Japan.

Heading up the six-member committee is Tatsuo Kainaka, a former Japan supreme court justice.

The rest of the panel is comprised of four other lawyers and one accountant.

In a statement, the Japanese camera and optical technologies manufacturer said the committee will look for any illegalities or questionable management decisions related to the acquisitions and will recommend improvements, if necessary, for future governance practices.

A Wall Street Journal article quoted Kainaka as saying the panel members are all independent and neutral, with no prior connections to the company.

The investigation is expected to take at least a month to conduct and present to Olympus.

The camera maker said it will promptly disclose the findings.

Olympus lost half of its market value after British CEO Michael Woodford was suddenly dismissed in mid-October. Woodford said the ouster came after he questioned the size of the acquisitions and related consulting fees. The company said the firing resulted from differences in management style.

Olympus's chairman resigned last week, apologizing to stockholders, customers and partners for the negative impact the scandal has had on shareholder value.

The appointment of the special committee to explore the transactions resulted from calls for disclosure from investors.

The committee members were selected by two outside directors who based their decisions on guidelines for third-party panels from the Japan Federation of Bar Associations, the Wall Street Journal said.


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