Former Apple CFO Leaves Board Following Stock Option Investigation

The company releases key findings from its three-month investigation into alleged irregularities in the distribution of stock options to executives.

Former Apple Chief Financial Officer Fred Anderson resigned Oct. 4 from the companys board of directors following a three-month investigation into alleged irregularities in the way the company distributes stock options to executives.

Mr. Anderson, who served as CFO from 1996 until 2004, informed the company that he believes it is "in Apples best interests that I resign from the board at this time."

Apple Computer, based in Cupertino, Calif., also announced that the special committee of its board has reported its findings from the investigation into Apples stock-option practices.

The company told securities regulators Aug. 11 it would not file its quarterly results on time as it reviews irregularities related to some past stock option grants.

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The special committee of outside directors, together with independent counsel and accountants, examined more than 650,000 e-mails and documents, and conducted interviews with more than 40 current and former employees, directors and advisors, an Apple spokesperson said.

Apple initiated this voluntary, independent investigation after a management review discovered irregularities in past stock option grants, the spokesperson said.

The independent investigations key findings, as announced Oct. 4, are:

  • The investigation found no misconduct by any member of Apples current management team.
  • The most recent evidence of irregularities relates to a January 2002 grant.
  • Stock option grants made on 15 dates between 1997 and 2002 appear to have grant dates that precede the approval of those grants.
  • In a few instances, Apple CEO Steve Jobs was aware that favorable grant dates had been selected, but he did not receive or otherwise benefit from these grants and was unaware of the accounting implications.
  • The investigation raised serious concerns regarding the actions of two former officers in connection with the accounting, recording and reporting of stock option grants. The company will provide all details regarding these officers actions to the SEC.

"I apologize to Apples shareholders and employees for these problems, which happened on my watch. They are completely out of character for Apple," Jobs said. "We will now work to resolve the remaining issues as quickly as possible and to put the proper remedial measures in place to ensure that this never happens again."

The company and its independent auditors are reviewing the findings of the independent investigation.

"Management continues to believe, and the audit committee agrees, that Apple will likely need to restate its historical financial statements to record non-cash charges for compensation expense relating to past stock option grants," the spokesperson said.

The company and its independent auditors are also reviewing recent accounting guidance published by the SEC, and have not yet determined the amount of such charges, the resulting tax and accounting impact, or which periods may require restatement. The company continues to proactively inform the SEC of its findings, the spokesperson said.

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Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 13 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...