Expediency at Apple

by admin on January 2, 2007

in Tax and Ethics

Dan Farber provides an unusual commentary about the extent to which Apple CEO Steve Jobs, was involved in backdating of options and the likely impact on Jobs. At present Apple’s board have ‘full confidence’ in their iconic talisman. But, Dan asks:

Is the federal government willing to press the issue surrounding Steve Jobs’ involvement, given that an Apple without Steve Jobs takes a huge bite out of the core and shareholder value? Not likely.

If Dan is implying some sort of US government interpretation of pragmatism, based on Jobs’ defense then it is going to look monumentally stupid. Jobs’ excuse is that he didn’t benefit personally. Well who did and to what extent? If there is any whiff of favouritism anywhere then Jobs must surely be up for an SEC spanking. Will he for instance indemnify any of the beneficiaries under this now discredited scheme?

The alternative is the SEC is faced with a ton of lawsuits by those who have already been fired for similar offences. Along with the companies who fired them.

As an aside – the fact Dan believes significant shareholder value is derived from a single person tells you a great deal about the ethical position such persons need to adopt. Individual reputation has a huge value.

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