Whistleblower CEO Shares His Experience

December 16, 2012

“I thought I was coming to run a health care and consumer electronics company, and I find myself in this John Grisham novel.”

These are the words of Michael Woodford, former president and CEO of Olympus, who became the first corporate head to be a whistleblower on his own company. He will present the first of 2013’s Distinguished Speaker Series lectures at Xavier University entitled "Honesty and Leadership: Why the Best Leaders Must Possess Both Qualities" at noon on January 17, 2013 in the Cintas Center.

All seats are free, thanks to PNC’s sponsorship of the series, but an RSVP is required at www.xavier.edu/dss on or before Jan. 7

After being appointed president and CEO in April 2011, Woodford, a 30-year veteran of Olympus, found himself in the middle of treachery and intrigue when he discovered $1.7 billion in accounting fraud. Olympus executives were hiding huge investment losses in complex takeover deals. He blew the whistle on the scandal and was fired from Olympus on Oct. 14. When he left the building that day, he feared for his life.

Woodford pulls the audience into what could be the plot of a suspense thriller and shares the experience of being the first president of a large corporation forced to become a whistleblower on his own company. He educates audiences about leadership and how, with honesty as a basic foundation, capitalism can still be ethical and corporations can still be profitable.

Woodford will sell and sign copies of his book released Nov. 27, Exposure: Inside the Olympus Scandal: How I Went from CEO to Whistleblower.

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.

Arrangements for Woodford’s appearance were made through Greater Talent Network, Inc., New York, NY.