Woodford vows to reveal rival board team

FORMER Olympus chief executive Michael Woodford yesterday pledged to unveil his rival board candidates within a fortnight as the whistleblower tries to re-take control of the disgraced Japanese camera maker.

But Woodford – who was fired in October for questioning shady deals worth at least $1.7 billion (£1.1bn) that are now being investigated by an international posse of prosecutors and local police – declined to be drawn on the percentage of investors backing him.

He said his support was “extensive and substantial”, adding that his nominees may change if Olympus is de-listed from the Japanese stock exchange next week.

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Woodford, who cut his teeth at Olympus more than 30 years ago and became a rare foreigner to rise to the ranks of both president and chief executive, said he had no doubt that he was the best person to re-take the chief executive seat.

He added: “I know the business; I was managing the business; I understand the business; I know the people in the business; I have a track record of delivering, so I don’t have any doubts I would be the best person. I know what Olympus needs to do to be radically more profitable.”

Olympus management yesterday bowed to shareholder demands for an extraordinary meeting in late February at the earliest, adding it was prepared to resign en masse after a company-appointed independent panel condemned managers for being “rotten to the core”.