Olympus's Traitor or Hero?

Is former Olympus president Michael Woodford, 51, a traitor to his company or a hero to those in Japan who seriously want to reform the country’s corporate culture? There is no doubt that the British executive is regarded as a traitor to Olympus’s close cadre of senior executives, some of whom have already resigned in the wake of the revelations of corporate malfeasance that Woodford set in motion. The fact is that despite Japan’s standing as the world’s third-largest economy, behind that status lurks a different reality. Corporate governance, even in some of the most respected Japanese companies, is a lot less stringent than most of the world realizes, depending to a larger extent on the kind of family and interpersonal relations that apply to the rest of Asia than it does to the industrialized west.

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