Olympus Board of Directors Intends To Resign

January 3, 2012

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. vacate (v.) [vuh-keyt] – to give up or leave a position
Example: The Prime Minister’s decreasing popularity urged him to vacate his position.

2. threaten (v.) [thret-n] – to become a possible danger or disadvantage
Example: The economic recession threatened the availability of jobs for the fresh university graduates.

3. exclusion (n.)  [ik-skloo-zhuhn] – the act or state of being excluded
Example: His exclusion from the national team was unexpected. 

4. interpretation (n.)  [in-tur-pri-tey-shuhn] – the act or process of explaining the meaning of something
Example: The artist’s interpretation of the painting is different from people who don’t paint..

5. retain (v.) [ri-teyn] – to hold or keep in place
Example: The President aims to retain his position by re-election.

Read the text below.

The entire Olympus Corporation Board of Directors intends to vacate their posts after allegations of accounting fraud threatened the Japanese camera maker's exclusion in the Tokyo Stock Exchange listing.

Olympus plunged into scandal late November 2011 after an external investigation listed 70 executives involved in hiding from its shareholders $1.7 billion worth of financial losses accumulated in the last 13 years. Even the company's Chairman, Shuichi Takayama, was included in the list.

As Olympus’ representative, Mr. Takayama expressed his apology for putting the company under severe criticism. Mr. Takayama promises that the board members will resign as soon as the firm holds a meeting with its shareholders around late February 2012.

Michael Woodford, Olympus' former chief executive, resigned from the firm's board earlier when the initial investigations came out. He did this in an effort to influence the ousting of the other executives. He was previously fired from the chief executive position when he expressed doubts about the company's questionable expenses. Woodford is currently assembling a team to take the place of the board.

Olympus' corporate drama has caused the firm to lose 50% of its shares. The Tokyo Stock Exchange requires the company to submit a legal interpretation of the investigations in order to retain its listing and, in the process, keep the company afloat.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

      What is your idea about proper corporate governance?
      Why is honesty important in corporations?

Discussion B

·         Why do you think corruption in some organizations exist?
·         Like Woodford, would you risk losing the support of everybody for the sake of truth?

January 3, 2012