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Tamron CEO resigns for misuse of funds

Tamron’s CEO, Shiro Ajisaka, has resigned after an internal investigation, prompted by a whistle blower, found he misappropriated company funds for at least five years.

Tamron, a public company traded on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, doesn’t give too much away in the Japanese press release announcing Ajisaka’s resignation. The translation is also poor, potentially resulting in unusual terminology and incomplete sentences.

It appears that on July 9 2023, an official whistle blower report claimed that Ajisaka, a Tamron employee since 1981 according to the press release, ‘accompanied a third-party woman on a business trip’. In other words, the company credit card was charged during a non-business-related date to a restaurant. The resulting investigation uncovered this occurred several times a month for at least five years.

The term ‘third-party woman’ sounds a bit strange. We’ll have to assume Tamron means she is a third-party to the company, but it’s quite possibly more than that.

In response to the ongoing investigation, Ajisaka requested he resign effective immediately. The company accepted his resignation and announced his successor, Shogo Sakuraba. The investigation is ongoing, with Tamron establishing a committee of ‘neutral and fair’ independent experts to conduct a ‘thorough fact-finding investigation’.

‘The Company will fully cooperate with the investigation by the Special Investigation Committee and proceed with the investigation as soon as possible. In addition, if there are matters that should be disclosed during the investigation by the Special Investigation Committee, we will promptly announce them, and we will promptly notify you of the investigation results by the Special Investigation Committee as soon as we receive the investigation report.’

It’s no secret that employees take advantage and enjoy the perks of having access to company funds. Driving the company car for personal reasons to save money on petrol, ordering the set menu paired with wine for a boozy lunch, decking out the home office, or purchasing goods that aren’t quite business-related with the company credit card. It usually comes at such a low cost that the company will never notice, or not care to notice.

But the CEO of a respected publicly-traded company is taking an enormous risk to go out of a bunch of free dates. He’s jeopardising a fifty year career, and future prospects to be hired in a similar role. Those decades spent climbing Tamron’s corporate ladder, finally reaching the top in 2016 with a salary that enables the luxury of dining out of the finest restaurants, are wasted.

The news hasn’t had much impact on the Tamron share price, which has fallen around six percent since the press release from August 22. Click here to read Tamron’s press release about Ajisaka’s misappropriation of funds with a third-party woman.

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