The Tennessee-based investment firm that is Olympus Corp.’s largest non-Japanese shareholder has called for the ouster of Olympus PR chief Akihiro Nambu and others since axed from the financially troubled imaging company.
Southeastern Asset Management of Memphis, which has a 5% stake in Olympus, said Nov. 1 that Nambu, general manager of PR and IR, along with two directors and the company’s auditor, should resign immediately and dissociate themselves from the company. The directors, including a former president and chairman of the company, and auditor quit last week.
Nambu, in his IR role, reportedly signed off on filings that helped the company hide $687M in costs used to conceal losses dating back to the 1990s. He continues as Olympus’ primary spokesman through the crisis.
Southeastern is working with Tokyo-based independent PR firm Ashton Consulting to get its message out in Japan.
The crisis was sparked in October when CEO Michael Woodford raised questions about past spending and investment losses at the company and was subsequently fired.
Olympus first denied any problems but has since admitted to making $687M in payments to cover investment losses for two decades. Its books are now being probed in the U.S., U.K. and Japan.
Woodford on Nov. 30 resigned from the Olympus board and held a press conference in New York to say he will attempt a proxy fight to support a new, “untainted” board.
Nambu issued a statement for the company on Nov. 30 to deflect media rumors that Olympus will not be able to file its second quarter fiscal earnings by Dec. 14. He said the company intends to meet that deadline, promising to “immediately disclose any further important information regarding filing of its quarterly report as such information comes to light.”
Olympus faces a possible delisting from the Tokyo Stock Exchange as well as a shareholder class action in the U.S. The company says its management needs to stay in place to oversee reforms being enacted in the wake of the scandal.