Olym­pus scan­dal is to be turned into TV se­ries

The Sunday Telegraph - Money & Business - - Business - By Alan Tovey

THE Bri­tish chief ex­ec­u­tive who ex­posed a £1.1bn scan­dal at the heart of Ja­panese gi­ant Olym­pus has landed an in­ter­na­tional TV deal show­cas­ing his dra­matic story.

Whis­tle-blower Michael Wood­ford was hounded out of Ja­pan and left in fear for his life af­ter un­earthing a web of cor­rup­tion within the com­pany just weeks af­ter be­ing ap­pointed as chief ex­ec­u­tive in 2011. Now Amer­i­can pro­duc­tion com­pany Te­nafly has signed a deal to turn his book Ex­po­sure into a six-part tele­vi­sion se­ries sim­i­lar to hit show The Night Man­ager.

Josh Su­gar­man, di­rec­tor of de­vel­op­ment at New York-based Te­nafly, said: “Michael’s story is the first in an an­thol­ogy we are pro­duc­ing of brave men and women stand­ing up for what is right.

“His ex­pe­ri­ence shows how dra­matic whis­tle-blow­ing can be. He was a com­pany man his whole life but then had to make the de­ci­sion to stand up for what was right, fac­ing down peo­ple he had worked with for decades.”

When Mr Wood­ford tried to high­light pay­ments of hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars for ap­par­ently worth­less com­pa­nies, his ef­forts were blocked by fel­low Olym­pus ex­ec­u­tives. He was quickly sacked and faced le­gal ac­tion. On his re­turn to the UK, Wood­ford was warned by the po­lice he could be as­sas­si­nated by Ja­pan’s mafia.

The deal comes as Ja­pan digests a fresh se­ries of cor­po­rate scan­dals. These in­clude Kobe Steel fak­ing qual­ity data on com­po­nents used in crit­i­cal ap­pli­ca­tions in­clud­ing in the aero­space, rail and nu­clear sec­tors, and car gi­ant Nis­san’s use of un­qual­i­fied staff to cer­tify ve­hi­cles.

Mr Wood­ford, who now ad­vises on cor­po­rate gov­er­nance, busi­ness in Ja­pan, and cam­paigns to pro­tect whistle­blow­ers, said: “Ja­panese ex­ec­u­tives are pre­pared to com­pro­mise their own in­tegrity – and of­ten com­mit il­le­gal acts – in a per­verted view [that] the pri­or­ity is to ‘pro­tect’ the com­pany at any cost, al­though many times such logic cloaks the real mo­ti­va­tion of self-in­ter­est.

“The se­ries will help peo­ple un­der­stand Ja­panese cor­po­rate cul­ture and en­cour­age fu­ture whis­tle-blow­ers to come for­ward.”

Te­nafly is iden­ti­fy­ing net­work part­ners to air the se­ries, with ter­res­trial broad­cast­ers, Ama­zon and Net­flix all un­der con­sid­er­a­tion.

Michael Wood­ford, ex-pres­i­dent of Olym­pus, sur­rounded by re­porters in 2011. His whis­tle-blow­ing story is to be made into a TV se­ries

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