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5.0 von 5 Sternen A brilliant read, 6. Januar 2014
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Mr. Woodford is not a journalist, not a professional writer and his skills as CEO - well tough to say as he was not long enough on his job - .. so I am very surprised that his book turned out so readable and so honest. Even so honest he partly admits his rise in the Olympus corporation lots of times involved luck and his final promotions to president and CEO probably happened due to strategic reasonings of a flawed business culture in Japan. He even seems naive sometimes. But make no mistake, this naivety is not for real, it is more a desire for simpleness, straightforwardness and putting the right value on things. When it comes to leadership Michael is second to none. Kind of sad we were not to experience what results his tenure as a CEO supported by appropriate advisers would have yielded.
It is quite clear that his decision to go public with the facts nearly bankrupted Olympus. And it is quite hard to blame former management to the extent they deserve as going public prior probably would have bankrupted the company for sure. Finding a solution behind the scenes could have been a better immediate solution. But as hard as it is to admit, that would have been exactly the wrong solution. If you need to plug a $2bn hole a couple dozen millions seem not to matter. And if you are at it, why not pay out huge amounts to yourself behind the scenes? Once the genie is out of the bottle there simply is no turning back. If Olympus had plugged the hole finally some new shenanigans would have followed with absolute certainty.
It might have been the ideal point in time to cure Olympus from its cancer. I am sure over time Michael will be appreciated more for his role in this saga. And yes, he did quite well financially in the end. Considering that he admits his luck, that he faced dire financial consequences inbetween and that others with dubious roles got away with a lot more money we should not envy him for his final windfall. But make up your own mind by reading his book.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Insightful, interesting and entertaining white-collar crime thriller, 31. Oktober 2013
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I definitely recommend "Exposure ". Even though or perhaps because the book is a real story, it reads like an exciting business thriller. The perfect holiday reading. And in fact the book is about real white-collar crime at the highest level, carried out in the boardrooms of Olympus in Japan.

In the book, the former CEO of famous Olympus tells how he discovered and revealed one of the biggest accounting scandals in the world. Doing this he took his family and himself it in danger.

The author:

Written by Michael Woodford the book describes what he did to reveal the accounting scandal as head of Olympus. It's also about the resistance of all his board colleagues and the Japanese institutional investors.

Michael Woodford is British and lives (also during times being CEO of Olympus on the weekends) with his family in London. After climbing the career ladder at Olympus more than 30 years, in 2011 he was appointed president and later CEO of the Japanese industrial group. Olympus employs nearly 40,000 employees all over the globe and is one of the market leaders in various optics and reprography product areas. Woodford is the first foreign CEO of Olympus. At that time there are only three other foreign CEOs in Japanese companies.

The scandal:

Shortly after his nomination to CEO, Michael Woodford discovers that previous and current managers had transferred hundreds of millions US$ to advisory and other companies, some of them on Cayman Islands. Later it shows that accounts were falsified to hide losses of more than $1,7 billion! The intention was to hide losses from derivative securities transactions.

Michael Woodford wants to clear up the allegations, which he first learns from the pen of a Japanese investigative journalist internally with his colleagues. But they completely lock. Immediately after informing his board colleagues about this issue and the intention to clean it up internally, Woodford sees himself fired. Because of potential involvement of criminal organizations he directly flies out of Japan. However, he and his family live all the time during the investigations in fear of their lives.

He is nevertheless eager to reveal the story and thus clean every detail of the issue for the good of the company now from outside of it. Thus he talks to public investigators in Japan, U.K. and USA.

Mostly thanks to solely pressure from non-Japanese shareholders and media and after some (but not all) managers and board members resign without ever revealing the details of the case, the stock price coasts to the basement and the company gets into a threatening crisis.

I find the book very interesting and recommend it therefore to anyone reading white-collar-crime thrillers or who is interested in Japan and Asia and/or who is interested in finance and accounting scandals. I agree to the "Economist " saying the book should be compulsory for all managers and MBA students. Michael Woodford proves with his behavior in this case true leadership qualities and responsibility. In times of NSA and Libor scandals and revelations of Edward Snowden and Wikileaks , etc. the book is highly topical. It is exciting and fully entertaining, showing the life of whistleblowers -true heroes for me.
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4.0 von 5 Sternen Spannender Wirtschaftskrimi im japanischem Umfeld, 27. Dezember 2012
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Spannende und realitätsnahe Darstellung der Abläufe in japanischen Unternehmen und der japanischen Gesellschaft.

Wirtschaftskrimi, der - aus der Sicht des Autors nachvollziehbar - einseitig erzählt ist, teilweise mit Wiederholungen.
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4.0 von 5 Sternen Gut zu lesen und interessant, 21. Dezember 2012
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Rezension bezieht sich auf: Exposure: Inside the Olympus Scandal: How I Went from CEO to Whistleblower (Taschenbuch)
Keine fünf Sterne, weil immer mal wieder für mich eine Selbstbeweihräucherung herauskommt.
Wie der Kommentar eines Zeitungsmenschen, der ihn zum Businessman of the Year gewählt hat, zu seiner Frau:
he is really authentic, isn't he?
Das hat keinen Mehrwert für die Geschichte.
Und ich habe beim Lesen auch den Eindruck gewonnen, er ist immer noch vergrämt wegen der Geschichte.

Ansonsten sehr interessant wie das abgelaufen ist und wie er es beschreibt. Auch wenn das nur die eine Seite der Geschichte sein kann.
Da ich nicht muttersprachlich englisch spreche und auch nicht alle Bankenprodukte kenne, fiel es mir schwer, den Verlauf des Geldes, wie die Verluste verschleiert wurde, zu verfolgen.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Fascinating insights into Japanese industrial culture, 17. Dezember 2012
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Michael Woodford, having served in higher management in various firms in the Olympus concern für some 30 years, was called to serve as CEO of the whole Olympus company, based in Japan. It was quite a sensation for a foreigner to head a major Japanese company, almost unique in fact. But Woodford had made the European subsidiary the most profitable in the Olympus company and he was highly qualified to run the whole company. He soon found out, however, that the Japaniese way of thinking and running a large company is very different from the western world. Due to his practice of probing and asking questions, he soon stumbled on evident inconsistencies in the financial situation about which the Japanese senior managers remained strictly tight-lipped. Within a few months he unearthed criminal procedures in the company designed to conceal the true financial state, but was unable to discuss his findings with the Olympus board of directors. His insistance in seeking explanations resulted in his being fired as CEO without notice.

His connections with industry and particularly with the media helped him to get world-wide coverage of the Olympus scandal, but it was an extremely trying and harrowing time for him. .Also financially he was hard-pressed because his campaign involved much travelling throughout the word, giving ínnumerable interviews, in order to maintain the pressure on Olympus. Finally the responsible managers admitted criminal actions and were sentenced in court. Woodford was vindicated, but not before the whole world had witnessed the rotten core of Japanese industry. Woodford's campaign held me spellbound for many hours until I had finished reading.

I found this book so fascinating that I read it through within a very short time. I explains why many Japanese companies have excellent products which they market very successfully world-wide, but the Japanese industrial management is very paternal. Very many Japanese spend their whole working life in one company, and it is unheard of for someone to question management decisions made at a higher level. Even the board of directors is largely a body of yes-men, which explains why Woodford failed to get direcors involved in inconsistencies to talk. They would not voice criticism. The whole system is inefficient, which means that the Japanese with excellent products coast along without much thought for the future. That is one reason why newer technology (internet, smart phones, computers) comes largely from America, South Korea and to some extent China, but not Japan.
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Exposure: Inside the Olympus Scandal: How I Went from CEO to Whistleblower
Exposure: Inside the Olympus Scandal: How I Went from CEO to Whistleblower von Michael Woodford (Taschenbuch - 29. November 2012)
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