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Former Olympus CEO shares his whistleblower story at Xavier's 2013 Distinguished Speaker Series

Michael Woodford presents his lecture on Thursday, Jan. 17, at noon in the Cintas Center

01/14/13

The first Distinguished Speaker Series lecturer for 2013 is the former Olympus Corporation president and CEO who discovered $1.7 billion in accounting fraud by Olympus executives within weeks of his promotion to lead the company where he’d worked for 30 years. Michael Woodford reported the scandal to authorities and was fired six months later, on Oct. 14, 2011.

He remembers the day well. When he left the building, he says, he feared for his life. “I thought I was coming to run a health care and consumer electronics company, and I find myself in this John Grisham novel,” Woodford said.

Woodford became the first corporate head to be a whistleblower on his own company. His lecture, "Honesty and Leadership: Why the Best Leaders Must Possess Both Qualities," takes place at noon on Jan. 17 in the Cintas Center.

Woodford pulls the audience into his experience at Olympus through his story-telling ability. He educates the audience about leadership and how, with honesty as a basic foundation, capitalism can still be ethical and corporations can still be profitable.

Woodford will be selling and signing copies of his book, Exposure: Inside the Olympus Scandal: How I Went from CEO to Whistleblower, which was released on Nov. 27.

Xavier’s Distinguished Speakers Series brings top-level business, academic and political leaders to campus to discuss world issues, introduce ideas, generate discussion and further the education mission of Xavier. Attendees have the opportunity to interact with each speaker. Previous Distinguished Speakers include: Robert Castellini of Castellini Co. and the Cincinnati Reds, E.W. Scripps’ Kenneth Lowe, Sara Mathew of Dun & Bradstreet, Procter & Gamble’s Robert McDonald, LaVaughn Henry of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, author and economic historian Amity Shlaes, and Economist editor Greg Ip.

Learn more about the Michael Woodford and the Distinguished Speaker Series at the website.