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Exposure: Inside the Olympus Scandal: How I Went from CEO to Whistleblower (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 29. November 2012

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Taschenbuch, 29. November 2012
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With as much suspense as most thrillers, Michael Woodford's story has the hallmarks of a John Grisham novel. Even those without much knowledge of business should find it easy to follow and enjoyable to read. A brilliantly gripping book, with a great hero at its heart. His story is all the more frightening for being true. (Evening Standard)

Michael Woodford's rapid ascent and downfall for doing the right thing is nicely told in this first-person whodunnit. The kind of integrity and courage that Woodford displayed is unusual. Exposure should be seen as compulsory reading for company directors and MBA students.... Woodford stands tall as an example of leadership. Read his book and ask yourself: would you do the same thing - or would you just shut up and go to Davos? (Economist)

Brace yourself, for this is a rare tale of integrity and probity in business. Woodford tells his tale like a thriller, uncovering fraud piece by piece... He triumphs with a pacey narrative [and] a storyteller's eye for detail. A fine book by a fine man who did the right thing. If it does get the Hollywood treatment, Woodford should get a George Clooney at the very least. (The Times)

Michael Woodford had everything the corporate world could ever offer. Yet when he discovered rampant corruption at the core of one of Japan's most prestigious companies, he did not hesitate: This is a sensational personal account of a man of great courage and principle who got to the top, and blew the whistle to glorious effect. In the corporate world Michael Woodford is too rare and exceptional a breed (Jon Snow Channel 4 News)

If Michael Woodford follows through with his threat to write a book on the events leading up to his dismissal by Olympus it promises to be a real humdinger along the lines of Too Big To Fail or Barbarians At the Gate (James Moore Independent)

Michael Woodford took a considerable risk in exposing wrongdoing. He was a study of boldness in action (Lionel Barber Financial Times)

The most celebrated international whistleblower of recent times... his story is filled with mystery, suspense, duplicity and betrayal (Management Today)

The business book of the year has to be Michael Woodford's Exposure (Rosamund Urwin Evening Standard)

The first westerner to work his way to the top of a Japanese corporation discovered a few months later a £950m secret eating away at its heart. ... when he blew the whistle [he] learned of potential plots to take his life. (Independent)

In a world increasingly dominated by global multinationals, he just felt someone had to speak out (Sunday Times)

He lost his job for his integrity (The Economist)

Michael Woodford could have spent years turning a blind eye to the shady dealings of executives at Olympus. Instead he dove headfirst into allegations of corporate misconduct (Time)

Michael Woodford has proven himself a hero, though he never wanted the battle. He risked everything (Clive Stafford Smith)

A gripping chronicle by a corporate whistle-blower who achieved a stunning victory (Kirkus)

He is one of the few foreign businessmen to have penetrated deep inside a Japanese corporation and to report back unflinchingly on what he saw. What he found was not pretty (Financial Times)

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

Michael Woodford grew up in Liverpool and joined Olympus as a medical equipment salesman, rising through the ranks to run its UK, MEA and European businesses. In April 2011 he was appointed President and COO of the Olympus Corporation - the first Western 'salary-man' to rise through the ranks to the top of a Japanese giant. That October he was made CEO, but only two weeks later was dismissed after querying inexplicable payments approaching $2 billion. He was named Business Person of the Year 2011 by the Sunday Times, the Independent and the Sun, and won the Financial Times ArcelorMittal Award for Boldness in Business. He lives in London with his wife and two teenage children.

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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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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.
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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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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.
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