TOKYO (TR) – Toshiro Shimoyama, a former president of troubled camera and endoscope maker Olympus, says he laments the decision to hire a foreign national to head the company, according to Web magazine Gendai Business.
Shimoyama served as Olympus’s president from 1984 to 1993. “It was a mistake to bring a foreigner in to be president,” Shimoyama was quoted as saying in an interview published Friday by Gendai Business.
Olympus is presently embroiled in a scandal in which it attempted to hide substantial investment losses dating back decades through questionable acquisitions.
The former president earlier this month said he does not remember an attempt to conceal loses during his leadership of the 92-year-old company. “As president it wasn’t the case where all financial reports would come to me, so I have no memory. During that time (former Olympus president) Masatoshi Kishimoto was the treasurer … I wouldn’t have heard financial details,” he said in an interview with the Nikkei.
The man who brought the scandal to light, former Olympus Chief Executive Michael Woodford, is in Japan meeting with prosecutors, the police and regulators from the Tokyo Stock Exchange who are investigating the matter.
The British national said he was fired from the company when he began raising questions about several deals, including the $687 million fee Olympus paid to a little-known adviser in its $2 billion acquisition of U.K. medical equipment company Gyrus Group Plc. in 2008.
Woodford is expected to directly call for Olympus’s leadership to resign when he meets with them Friday for the first time since he was fired on Oct. 14, the Nikkei reported earlier.