Corporate Reputation Briefing Part 2: Transparency’s time has come
Will 2013 be the year of transparency? Modern media facilitates it and public expectations demand it. Businesses would be unwise to ignore it
Michael Woodford is keeping a low profile these days. The former chief executive of Olympus was last in the news in mid-2012, when the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners decided to decorate him with a prestigious award.
A quiet period must be a welcome change. At the beginning of 2012, Woodford’s name was splashed across the global media. That wasn’t the plan when he took the top job at Olympus the previous April. The UK-born “salary man” and his bosses were hoping for a seamless transition. Japanese business culture, after all, is not big on surprises.
Once in the hot seat, however, Woodford had a hunch all was not right. Rousing his suspicions were a string of acquisitions by the camera and endoscopy manufacturer. Weirdly, none had anything to do with Olympus’s core business. Even weirder was the price tag: more than $1bn.
Woodford asked Olympus’s chairman for answers. None came. He...