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Olympus America Announces Top Management Changes

Melville, New York—Olympus America Inc. (OAI) has announced the retirement of President Sidney Braginsky, 62. At the same time, Tsuyoshi (Tom) Kikukawa, Chairman and C.E.O. of Olympus America, announced that the Board of Directors of Olympus Optical Co., Ltd., Tokyo, has elected F. Mark Gumz, 50, to succeed Braginsky as President and C.O.O.

"Sid Braginsky was the first American to hold the post of president in the company's 31-year history," said Kikukawa. "Though he will manage the daily operations through the end of December 1999, Sid will be a consultant to Mr. Gumz for special projects through the end of 2000."

Mr. Gumz will assume his new position on January 1, 2000, but he is not a newcomer to Olympus. Most recently, he has been a consultant to its Digital Imaging Systems Group, the consumer products division—well known for the world's best-selling camera, the Stylus, and the international market leading line of filmless digital cameras, as well as the Pearlcorder brand analog and digital voice recorders. His initial relationship with Olympus, however, stems from 1977 to 1983, when he was vice president of Olympus Camera Corporation, a corporate entity that pre-dates Olympus America Inc.

"We are fortunate to have had an ongoing relationship with Mark," said Kikukawa. "His knowledge of Japanese culture and our company specifically, combined with his expertise in e-commerce technologies and strategies, are requisite assets that he brings to our company at an important time. As we enter the 21st century, OAI has a plan in place that focuses on customer service and adding value. Mark can position the company as the global community moves toward e-business, while balancing the customer's needs and returning value to the shareholders at the same time."

Braginsky has been president of Olympus since October 1994. Under his guidance, Olympus America Inc. achieved revenues that topped the billion-dollar mark for the first time during the company's latest fiscal year, which ended March 31, 1999. In addition, the company re-launched its Web site with more than 2,000 pages as part of a corporate-wide initiative that embraces e-business.

Before assuming the role of president, Braginsky was executive vice president and chief operating officer of the Olympus Scientific Equipment Group, the division responsible for the sales and marketing of clinical and industrial microscopes. He served the company's microscope area in various management capacities during most of his long career of nearly 30 years at Olympus. His leadership and participation in the Long Island community, where OAI is headquartered, involved the company in many business, arts, and educational organizations there. He will remain chairman and continue to represent Olympus in his leadership capacity with the International Standards Organization Technical Committee 172, which is responsible for the world standards of optical and electro-optical devices.

Gumz currently heads up The Gumz Group, Inc., an international trading company based in Bethlehem, Pa., where he resides with his wife and three children. An active consultant for the past 16 years since leaving Olympus, he has worked with numerous technology and consumer product companies in the U.S. and Europe, as well as manufacturing entities in the Far East.

"Twenty years ago I was with Olympus when it celebrated the 60th anniversary of its founding. I am delighted to return to the Olympus family in its 80th year," said F. Mark Gumz, "and have the opportunity to build on the company's heritage as a world leader in optical products."

Working as a consultant with Olympus since May 1999, Gumz has been involved with analyzing the opportunities of electronic business while at the same time focusing on new business development. He was recognized as a leading proponent and expert in the field, when he was a featured speaker at the first G-7 Conference on Electronic Commerce in Bonn, Germany, in April 1997.

Gumz began his career with the General Electric Company in 1972. He has also held management positions with Marubeni America Corporation and Sankyo Seiki Co. He is native of Cleveland, Ohio, and holds a B.A. in Humanities from Ohio State University.

Olympus America Inc., with nearly 1,700 employees and based in Melville, N.Y., was founded in 1968. The company distributes a wide range of products for the consumer, scientific, health care, commercial and industrial markets. It is responsible for sales, marketing, distribution and service in the United States, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America. Products include film and filmless cameras, microcassettes, digital voice recorders, binoculars, film scanners, personal photo printers, medical and industrial endoscopes, biological and metallurgical microscopes and measuring instruments, clinical analyzers, and other high technology products.

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