Fuji Xerox names Peter Thomas as new MD

Mr Thomas' past role at MBIE has come under scrutiny.

Office products company Fuji Xerox has appointed Peter Thomas as its new managing director as it tries to recover from an accounting scandal.

Mr Thomas has been chief operating officer at Fuji Xerox since 2015 and, before that, was deputy chief executive of corporate services for the Ministry of Business (MBIE).

In May, NZ First leader Winston Peters asked questions in Parliament over whether Mr Thomas may have had a conflict of interest, given Fuji Xerox was awarded multi-million dollar government contracts two months after he joined the company.

MBIE has since pointed out Mr Thomas left the government department two months after Fuji Xerox’s appointment to the all-of-government office supplies panel and had no role in the process or decision-making of that.

Mr Thomas’ promotion at Fuji Xerox comes after former managing director Gavin Pollard departed following revelations of $480 million of accounting irregularities, of which about $350 million related to the New Zealand subsidiary.

The company has launched a lawsuit against three former New Zealand executives.

Fuji Xerox also announced today a new chairman, with Haruhiko Imai taking up the new role from October 1.

Mr Imai is a 34-year veteran of Fuji Xerox, most recently as US-based senior general manager for global account marketing.

“With these appointments, Fuji Xerox New Zealand is ready to take on a new era as a rejuvenated and refreshed company,” Fuji Xerox says in a statement.

The company says Mr Thomas has been leading a “transformation of Fuji Xerox New Zealand and driving widespread change throughout the organisation”.

That included establishing new governance and management systems to address issues highlighted in an independent investigative report commissioned by Japanese parent company Fujifilm Holdings.

“Fuji Xerox is committed to resolving past issues experienced at this subsidiary and ensuring they do not happen again,” says Isamu Sekine, CEO of  Fuji Xerox Asia Pacific, the immediate parent of the local operations.

"With this new team I’m confident we have the right individuals to lead this business and regain trust with not only customers but all stakeholders including staff by demonstrating the highest ethical standards."

In July, Fuji Xerox suspended its three all-of-government contracts with New Zealand government agencies as officials awaited a report on irregular accounting practices at the company.

In June, Japanese parent Fujifilm Holdings revealed $480 million of "inappropriate accounting" in operations in New Zealand and Australia between 2011 and 2016, according to a report by an independent investigation committee.

Fuji Xerox's chairman Tadahito Yamamoto, deputy president Haruhiko Yoshida and two Fuji Xerox directors resigned.

Former Fuji Xerox New Zealand and Australia MD Neil Whittaker was dismissed last year.

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