Some have speculated that Apple could unveil its phone at the Macworld Expo, an event held every January that Apple has often used to showcase new products. How Jobs dodged the stock option backdating bullet Tobak's take on Steve Jobs' role in the stock options backdating scandal at Apple by Steve Tobak August 23, 3: A certain amount of hubris often accompanies top executives that would have made them less prone to consider ethics being taught mostly to subordinates. Jobs, Heinen, and Anderson all accepted backdated options as some point during , although it appears Jobs, Anderson, and the board did not know about the fabricated minutes. Steve Jobs' stock demands changed some people's view of the tech innovator.
Calling into question the ethics of any of the executives or board members would have taken significant courage. The Commission's complaint also alleges improprieties in connection with a December grant of 7. The other major way that backdating can be misleading to investors relates to the method by which the company accounts for the options. The unethical acts were at the very top of the corporate ladder and even among the board of directors. The idea to backdate options at Apple was likely first brought up by a board member or high executive who had participated in options backdating at another firm. Thus, backdating can be misleading to shareholders in the sense that it results in option grants that are more favorable than the shareholders approved in adopting the stock option plan. Heinen is charged with, among other things, violating the antifraud provisions of the Securities Act of and the Securities Exchange Act of , lying to Apple's auditors, and violating prohibitions on circumventing internal controls. The amount of people who knew about backdating and did nothing to stop it is evidence of group conformity. In the aftermath, Apple spokesman Steve Dowling said: The stock subsequently fell and the options were underwater, even though they had been backdated. And, he did not directly benefit from the backdated options because they were canceled and exchanged for restricted shares. Toward the other extreme, where the backdating was a result of overly informal internal procedures or even just delays in finalizing the paperwork documenting options grants, not intentional wrongdoing, there is likely to be no formal sanction—although the company may have to restate its financial statements to bring its accounting into compliance with applicable accounting rules. Certainly, as CFO, Anderson felt responsible and that is likely part of the reason that he was the first to resign in the scandal. The news, centered on the dubious awarding of stock options to Steve Jobs, prompts Apple share prices to fall. Notable companies embroiled in the scandal include Broadcom Corp. Anderson, without admitting or denying the allegations in the Commission's complaint, has agreed to a permanent injunction from further violations of the antifraud, reporting, internal controls, and other provisions of the federal securities laws. The Apple stock backdating backstory Backdating stock options refers to the practice of writing an agreement concerning the award of stock options to make it look like they were awarded earlier than they were. Worst case, it happened on Jobs' watch, but he was far enough removed from the action to claim plausible deniability. These people were most likely insulated at some level from any initiatives they did not create themselves and from typical ethics training courses. Backdating is legal so long as it is disclosed correctly. This all but eliminated the opportunity for senior management to engage any meaningful options backdating. If Apple had developed a more strict punishment to anyone involved in financial misstatements, such as immediate dismissal from the company or the board, the participants in options backdating may have acted more carefully. Jobs, a notoriously difficult and abrasive chief executive. Backdating is legal so long as the company discloses the practice correctly. Increasing the consequences of corporate fraud is one way in which a company can discourage fraud.
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