Ex-Olympus CEO Woodford Settles Unfair-Firing Lawsuit
Woodford sued Olympus at an employment tribunal for discrimination and unfair dismissal under whistle-blowing rules and was said to be seeking $60 million, according to a person familiar with the claim.
“The company needs to move on,” Woodford said outside the hearing room today. “There is a new board. I need to move on.”
The Japanese camera maker had about $4 billion wiped off its market value after dismissing Woodford on Oct. 14 when he questioned inflated fees paid to the company’s advisers. Olympus has since admitted to hiding losses and a 13-year cover-up. It is facing shareholder lawsuits and a criminal investigation in which three of its former executives were arrested and indicted by Japanese prosecutors.
The agreement needs to be approved by the Olympus board next month, Woodford’s lawyer Thomas Linden said.
“We are in a negotiation with Woodford for settlement,” said Osamu Kobayashi, a spokesman for Tokyo-based Olympus, and declined to comment further.
While the terms of Woodford’s agreement weren’t revealed, it may include a 10 million-pound ($15.7 million) payment to Woodford, the Financial Times reported earlier today.
If reports of a 10 million-pound payout are correct, it would represent the largest ever sum recovered in a U.K. whistle-blowing claim, said employment lawyer Jo Keddie, who isn’t involved in the case.
“The adverse attention which this case would have attracted clearly has had an impact on the amount of compensation that may have been paid to him,” Keddie said.
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