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Wednesday, October 29, 2014, 18:15 - 20:30

The rapid ascent and downfall of a major Japanese corporation's first foreign president.                   


In April 2011, the Japanese camera-maker Olympus Corp. appointed its first foreign president, Michael Woodford, a Briton and 30-year company veteran. Six months later he was sacked after questioning $2 billion in suspicious transactions. His rapid ascent and downfall for doing the right thing is nicely told in this first-person whodunnit.
This book, published by Penguin Books in 2013, is extraordinary. Woodford, the newly-appointed president and then CEO of Olympus, woke up to find one day in 2011 that nobody was telling him the truth, facing an accounting fraud on a massive scale. Even the chairman and the Head of Compliance and Governance Department were suspected of being in on it. The CEO was confronted with a terrible dilemma that could put his and his family's lives at risk.
Whom could he trust? Certainly, not his own board. There were plenty of lessons that can be found in his experience about information and transparency in financial flows. Listen to his story, both hilarious and terrifying, as the decision he makes leads to the exposure of the scandal, the crash in the share price, the entire board’s resignation and him having to go around with armed police. 
He said in a summer speech of 2014: “After just a few months as President, I discovered a massive fraud which led to my dismissal from Olympus. However, as Carlos Ghosn of Nissan has proved beyond doubt, ‘Gaijin’ CEOs can be successful. Nevertheless, subsequent to my dismissal and the departure of Sir Howard Stringer from Sony, there are currently only two foreign heads of large Japanese corporations, the French-Lebanese businessman Carlos Ghosn at Nissan and Korean-born Han Chang-woo at leisure group Maruhan. As Japan is the world’s third largest economy, this fact is particularly concerning if Japan is to successfully manage its enterprises across the globe, and then it must have a mix of nationalities in its board rooms.”  Come and listen to his story on ‘Gaijin’ CEOs.
The library committee is offering a cocktail party - "Meet the Author" - starting at 6:15 pm. Followed by dinner at 6:45pm (Menu: Stewed Chicken With Tomato). Drinks can be ordered on a cash basis from the bar in the room. Book Break charges 2,100 yen (a special price including tax) for the event. Non-members eligible to attend may pay in cash. The special price was set up to celebrate and enhance the FCCJ's newly recognized koeki status.
Sign up now at the reception desk (03-3211-3161) or on the FCCJ website. To help us plan proper seating and food preparation, please reserve in advance, preferably by noon of the day of the event. Those without reservations will be turned away once available seats are filled. Reservations cancelled less than 24 hours in advance will be charged in full.
To non-members: Sign up now at the reception desk (03-3211-3161) or by mail (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ). Please reserve in advance. Those without reservations will be turned away once available seats are filled. No refund is available unless the event is cancelled for the reasons on our part.
(The talk will be in English) 


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