Will Pixar Options Flap Hit Jobs' Job At Apple?
from the looking-over-the-options dept
Hardly a week goes by that another handful of publicly traded tech companies don’t disclose that they’re under investigation by the SEC for options backdating. Some time ago, Apple said it was being investigated, then soon after, some options grants at Pixar came under scrutiny. The Apple investigation isn’t likely to implicate Steve Jobs, should it come to fruition, analysts say, because the company’s compensation committee was solely made up of outside directors. However, at Pixar (which is yet to disclose it’s being investigated, some investors are concerned that Jobs might have been involved. Pixar’s board of directors performed many of the functions of the compensation committee during the period of time covering the options grants in question; Jobs was one of four directors who was at the company for that entire period. While analysts say the impact of financial restatements due to options backdating is pretty minimal, however for the individuals involved, criminal charges are possible (such as those field against a former Brocade CEO, and the ex-CEO of Comverse, who’s since done a runner), and the SEC can also bar people from serving as directors, officers or “financial reporting executives” from public companies, as it’s done to other tech CEOs before. While the possibility of Jobs facing such a ban seems fairly remote at this point, it again raises the question of what happens at Apple after Jobs leaves, which came up when he was diagnosed with cancer a couple of years ago. The company’s in a much better position than it was when he rejoined, with a much more powerful brand and better products, and should be able to carry on without him. But there’s no doubt that the Jobs mystique is also beneficial to Apple, and there aren’t many CEOs that could bring something similar to the table.