Feeds

Apple director 'disgusted' by Jobsian health secrets

Deceased board member regrets not resigning

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

The web is abuzz with instant replays of Thursday's revelation by the Wall Street Journal that recently deceased Apple board member Jerry York told the paper that he was "disgusted" with CEO Steve Jobs' secrecy over his health problems.

"Frankly, I wish I had resigned then," York told the WSJ in an interview last year, shortly after Jobs told the world that he wouldn't attend the January 2009 Macworld Expo trade show in - but concealed why he wouldn't attend.

But those web echo-chambers that are merely focusing on York's disgust are missing the more important story: that it's becoming increasingly clear that at Apple the CEO calls the shots, not the board of directors.

And that's exactly the opposite of the way corporate governance is intended to function. A company's CEO is supposed to serve at the pleasure of the board and to answer to the company's investors - not the other way around.

According to the WSJ: "Mr. Jobs has long called the shots in the boardroom, said people familiar with the matter."

And just last month when some investors had the temerity to suggest that Apple share some of its $40bn cash heap with them in the form of dividends, Jobs shot them down, reportedly saying that he wants to hang onto the cash for "bold" investments.

Perhaps someone should remind Jobs that whether or not to pay dividends may not be his decision to make - that's a responsibility traditionally held by the audit and finance committee of a company's board of directors.

To be sure, Apple's charter (pdf) for the board's audit and finance committee makes no specific mention of dividends - but it does note that among that committee's responsibilites is to "Periodically review matters pertaining to the Corporation’s investment practices for cash management..."

As we've repeatedly said, Apple is on a fast-rising profit rocket, and Steve Jobs is one of the - if not the - major drivers of its success. But the rules of corporate governance are there for a reason: to inject even a modicum of checks and balances into what otherwise might become an autocracy.

In Apple's case, according to the WSJ's "people familiar with the situation," most members of the current board were not only "handpicked" by Jobs, but are loyal to him.

It's Steve's world - Apple's board just lives in it. Which is all well and good today, with Apple's stock on a seemingly unstoppable upward climb. But when the roller coaster starts its descent - as it almost certainly will someday - watch out.

Things could get ugly. Or disgusting. ®

Application security programs and practises

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE
4,000 pixels is niche now... Don't say we didn't warn you
Amazon Reveals One Weird Trick: A Loss On Almost $20bn In Sales
Investors really hate it: Share price plunge as growth SLOWS in key AWS division
Bose says today is F*** With Dre Day: Beats sued in patent battle
Music gear giant seeks some of that sweet, sweet Apple pie
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
Chips are down at Broadcom: Thousands of workers laid off
Cellphone baseband device biz shuttered
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.