Fuji Xerox Australia intends to sue former managing director Neil Whittaker.
The company has confirmed it will launch proceedings against Whittaker and its former chief financial officer Devlin Bell. Three years ago, the company uncovered around A$450m ($478m) in accounting irregularities in both Australia and New Zealand.
Whittaker, in charge of the New Zealand division of Fuji Xerox for 12 years, led the Australian division for just over a year. This ended abruptly in May 2016 after the parent company conducted a regional accounting audit. Bell also left Fuji Xerox Australia around this time. Fuji Xerox Australia intends to include firm Ernst and Young and Ernst and Young partner E A Lang. A case management hearing will take place on May 26.
This suit in Australia comes two and a half years after Fuji Xerox New Zealand launched a civil case in New Zealand’s High Court against three of its former executives including Whittaker.
After Whittaker’s sudden departure from the company, claims emerged of a ‘sales at any cost’ culture and accounting irregularities. Other stories came out concerning inflated sales revenues.
Fuji Xerox’s parent company Fujifilm conducted any enquiry that indicated the A$450m in losses. At the time, Fuji Xerox’s president and its Asia Pacific president apologised to Fuji Xerox Australia’s 400 Australian staff for the actions of Whittaker and Bell and the subsequent damage to the company’s morale and reputation locally. Fujfilm subsequently took a more prominent role in Fuji Xerox’s local management.