The former CEO of Japan's disgraced Olympus Corp, Briton Michael Woodford, returned to Japan on Thursday where he said he will decide the future of his bid to return to his old post.
Woodford, who was fired as chief executive in October and blew the whistle on a $1.7 billion accounting scandal, faces long odds in his battle with current management over future leadership of the Japanese maker of medical devices and cameras.
There are several people I want to see to establish the way forward, Woodford said in footage carried by TV Tokyo as he arrived at the capital's Narita Airport.
Asked whether he would withdraw his bid to return to Olympus' top job, he said: At the moment, I have made no decisions at all, I need to talk to many people. I will tell everyone tomorrow.
Woodford aide Waku Miller told Reuters the ex-CEO might give a news conference on Friday at 3 p.m. (0600 GMT), but said he had not yet made up his mind whether to abandon his campaign.
Olympus' lenders are expected to back existing managers with a plan to bring in a new domestic investor, possibly a rival such as Fujifilm Holdings Corp, to pump more capital into the firm as it tries to put the scandal behind it, according to bankers familiar with lenders' thinking.
The Nikkei business daily has reported that Olympus may issue about 100 billion yen in new preferred shares, with Sony Corp and Fujifilm seen as possible buyers.
Woodford's campaign to return to Olympus has also been hobbled by an inability to spark a groundswell of support among rank-and-file employees.
His duties as president - a post he held from April - required him to spend the bulk of his time overseas where the company makes most of its revenue, an employee who described himself as a middle manager told Reuters in December on condition he not be identified.
Few people had spoken to him and many had never seen him, said the Olympus manager, who supports Woodford's return as CEO.
Several of Olympus' large foreign shareholders, however, have backed his return.
I think I have enough support from shareholders. That's not the issue, Woodford said on Thursday. There are many options but again, until I have these meetings, I can't conclude.
It's the New Year so it's a good time to make decisions.
Olympus is the target of joint investigations by police, prosecutors and securities regulators, who conducted raids on company offices and former executives' homes late last month.
But the focus so far has been limited to a handful of former senior executives believed to have masterminded schemes that, with the help of investment bankers, hid investment losses dating back to the 1990s.
Olympus' shares, while down 60 percent since the scandal, have stabilized in recent weeks as the market grew hopeful that the company could avoid a delisting of its shares over the scandal. Olympus stock was down 0.1 percent at 987 yen at the midday break on Thursday.
(Reporting by Tim Kelly and Linda Sieg; Editing by Michael Watson and Ian Geoghegan)