Mistake was taking job seriously

In his Dec. 13 letter, “Marching orders to the Japanese,” Gregory Clark writes that “Former Olympus Corp. chief Michael Woodford … was brought in to help a company in trouble, and failed.”

It seems, rather, that Woodford was brought in as a stooge to provide cover for a failed management that had no intention of actually empowering him as CEO.

I quote from an online Tokyo business newspaper: “When Michael Woodford was appointed CEO of Olympus in April 2011, the news was uploaded to Olympus’ English-language website and was announced to overseas shareholders. But the change failed to appear on the Japanese-language website.”

The management expected him to be grateful and obedient for the pullup, as though he were a typical Japanese employee, while at the same time playing on his foreign face to make it appear that management was run according to international standards. Then the Olympus board fired Woodford for doing what he was only supposed to appear to be doing.

And for Clark’s information, it is not management who has saved millions of lives with the endoscopes that Olympus makes; it’s the hard-nosed engineers who have done it.

craig hicks
tokyo

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.