Olympus' new board - in the shadow of the old one?

Finally, the scandal-ridden board of Olympus has resigned. Their situations were pretty much untenable, and they had said that they would go. But only when they were ready and only after they'd appointed the new board. They made their new appointments this week, and have duly stepped down.

Picking up the poisoned chalice of president will be Hiroyuki Sasa, who steps over from the medical equipment marketing arm. The new chairman will be Yasuyuki Kimoto, who was previously an executive for the Olympus-connected Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp.

The appointments, are, however, dependent on shareholder approval at a meeting on 20 April.

Sasa has stated publicly that his primary concern is to win back consumer confidence in Olympus and to implement structural reforms across the compacy to prevent the kind of fairy-tale book-keeping that got into such a dire mess in the first place. But really, what else is he going to say in this situation?

What he says and what he will be able to do are different things, however. Olympus is desperate for reform and everyone knows this. But the old board's insistence on naming its successors somehow casts a pall on the new board, however compentent and determined it is. I can't help but feel it would have been better for them to have stepped away entirely and allowed for the appointment of a caretaker board before a permanent one was named. This would allowed for a completely clean slate, and would have reduced the insinuations that someone, the old guard still retains some form of control, whether it is because of patronage, or because they picked their own men. Neither of these scenarios is necessarily the case, but the circumstances, Caesar's wife really does need to be above suspicion.