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News & Insight

Ex-CEO of Olympus at risk of assassination by ninjas?

By Matthew Saville on November 29th 2012

According to a recent interview with Amateur Photographer Magazine, (UK) …ex-Olympus CEO Michael Woodford might have been at risk of assassination by ninjas.  Sounds like a plot out of a really bad 80’s TV show, right?  Well, it’s pretty close to reality, believe it or not!

In the interview, Woodford tells his tale of a board-room rant / argument that frightened him onto the first flight out of Tokyo in October 2011, fearing for his and his family’s life.   Woodford spent the subsequent months hiding from the public eye in England, protected by a special police team (and a reinforced front door) …yet still buried under an immense amount of stress while writing his book- “Exposure – Inside the Olympus Scandal – How I went from CEO to Whistleblower”

According to the interview, “His book tells the story of how fraudsters masterminded a complex scheme to cover up massive losses which Olympus had racked up on investments, disguising them through a series of multi-million dollar ‘Mickey Mouse’ company acquisitions and a record-breaking $687 million financial fee which, at the time, outside authorities were blind to.”

…Writing the book helped Woodford fight off the stress that the drama had put him, and his family, under for many months.

Though cathartic, the process also rekindled painful experiences, such as the night-time screams of his Spanish-born wife, Nuncy, who felt immense anxiety in the weeks after the scandal was exposed. 

‘We could have broken up,’ says Woodford. ‘But I don’t think that’s unique to us. I think any marriage or couple who suffer extreme emotional [stress]… it doesn’t make you together. It accentuates your differences. That is what happens in those situations.


Wait a minute, what about the ninjas, you might be asking impatiently?  Okay well maybe it wasn’t ninjas, but rumors did circulate in Japan that the deadly Yakuza were hunting for Woodford.  I dunno about you, but even if it was just a rumor I’d be terrified if I were him!  Maybe I watch too much “Magnum PI” on Netflix though…

Click HERE to read the full interview on, and click HERE to read a previous article that describes further details of the scandal and lawsuits that ensued, a £1.1 billion accounting scandal that wiped out nearly 3/4 of Olympus’ net assets by the end of 2011.  The question is, will Olympus cameras be affected by all this?  Apparently not at all; and I personally hope that we continue to see the innovation and quality that Olympus has always delivered to photographers around the world.


Until next time, keep on clicking!

(PS: in my opinion you should always watch out for ninjas, even if you’re not a whistle-blowing CEO.)

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Matthew Saville is a full-time wedding photographer at Lin & Jirsa Photography, and a senior editor & writer at SLR Lounge.

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  1. drewslugmoar

    Ninjas no ninjas Zuikos are hell of a drug. 

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