Michael Woodford, the whistle-blowing former chief executive of Olympus, said Friday he would abandon his bid to take over the helm of the scandal-hit Japanese precision equipment maker. Woodford had decided he "will today withdraw from any further action to form an alternative slate of directors," he said in a statement, citing personal issues and the absence of support from Japanese institutional shareholders. He is to hold a news conference at 0600 GMT. Shares in Olympus fell 3.49 percent to 995 yen in the first minutes of trading. Woodford, the company's first ever non-Japanese president and chief executive at the 92-year-old company, was stripped of the top posts on October 14. He said he was sacked because he alleged overpayments in acquisition deals in recent years and raised doubt over its corporate governance. Olympus later admitted the deals had been used to cover up huge investment losses dating back to the 1990s.