Foreign shareholders worry about Olympus changes

Foreign investors are increasingly worried about the troubled Olympus and its new board of directors.

According to Reuters, Olympus wants to promote an insider executive officer, Hiroyuki Sasa, to become president and former banker Yasuyuki Kimoto as chairman.

However, there are fears that an insider will just lead to the company, which is recovering from a $1.7 billion accounting fraud, to cover up its past.

Shareholders are nervous that Olympus did not take steps to bring its British whistleblowing CEO Michael Woodford back to sort out the mess. Olympus said that it felt Woodford did not understand the Japanese way of business.

Kimoto was formerly an executive of Sumitomo Mitsui Banking who has been loaning the company a lot of money lately.

Foreign shareholders who have been wanting fresh, outside talent in these two roles think that  Kimoto’s appointment means Olympus’ creditors will use the chairman’s role to call the shots in the boardroom.