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Apple backdating scandal
So he had to have a little talk with them about swapping his 20 million then-underwater options for 7.5 million new ones, which they did. I was trying to help Apple by getting some of the Ne XT people into some jobs where they could help Apple, and that’s pretty much all I was doing.
I’ve excerpted some of the juicier bits from the deposition below. On coming back to Apple and becoming CEO in 1997: Q: And I guess, just to go back in time then, I want to just try to understand a little bit the transition from having the title consultant to becoming CEO. A: Well, when Apple bought Ne XT, Apple was pretty messed up.
There’s a religion around Apple, and some won’t like it at all. At the beginning of the movie you say that the public conflated Apple and Steve Jobs.
I kept the interim CEO title for quite some time, a number of years. Apple was in a precarious situation in that we’d, you know, had the internet bubble busting, and I thought that Apple’s executive team and the stability of Apple’s executive team was one of its core strengths.
Well, it just kind of slid into the fact that I stayed. The “mega grants” were designed to be one big grant instead of smaller grants every year. Jobs explains the reasoning behind his compensation strategy: One of the things that I felt was that rather than giving them shares once a year, as is common in some companies, I would rather give them four years’ worth of stock upfront.
One of the reasons for me making this film was to offer something of a corrective. Interviews with Susan Wojcicki, Tim Armstrong, Jonah Peretti, Lydia Polgreen, Campbell Brown, Adam Mosseri, Brit Morin, Peter Rice, Janice Min, Kerry Trainor, Rony Abovitz, Adam Silver, Yaron Galai, Mike Mc Cue, Kevin Mayer, Jack Conte and others.
On March 18, 2008, Steve Jobs was deposed by the SEC during its investigation of Apple’s stock option backdating scandal. And when you say you failed, is it that you didn’t find anyone that you thought would be suitable to take on the role?
In other words, not the sort of people who could turn Apple around?
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So I was very concerned that Apple could really suffer some big losses on its executive team with the business environment we were in and the competitors coming after our people. (It was the falsifying of board minutes for a meeting that never occurred, not the backdating per se, that got Apple’s former general counsel Nancy Heinen into hot water with the SEC—this deposition was for a case against her). There aren’t too many revelations on the legal front in the document. So I took the title of interim CEO and agreed to come back for 90 days to help recruit a full-time CEO. Today, Rubinstein is competing against Apple in his role as the executive chairman of Palm, which is backed by Q. I have to tell you, for these options to be worth anything, the stock has to go up so much compared to a dollar or two at the beginning . So for them to realize that kind of a gain here, it’s a lot more than a small variation in a strike price. It wasn’t so much about the money, because a very small percentage of my net worth is from Apple. And I felt that the board wasn’t really doing the same with me. Jobs helped them get hired by Apple after the sale of Ne XT in the first place, and then rewarded them down the line with options on one million shares apiece. And so if these guys were going to realize the kind of money they could make elsewhere by staying at Apple, you know, they were going to have to make tens of millions of dollars. Several of them, you know, could be CEOs of a few big companies and a few medium-size companies. And as we’ve seen in the discussions of the past hour, I spent a lot of time trying to take care of people at Apple and to, you know, surprise and delight them with what a career at Apple could be – – could mean to them and their families. They weren’t underwater necessarily because of our performance, but, you know, the bubble had burst in the dot-coms, and here I had been working, you know, I don’t know, four years, five years of my life and not seeing my family very much and stuff, and I just felt like there is nobody looking out for me here, you know. The deposition was never made public until Forbes published it on Friday, after obtaining it through a Freedom of Information Act request. (Full deposition embedded below) Jobs explains his reasoning for why he asked the board for mega grants of options for both himself and his top executives, but claims ignorance of the mechanics of how that was done after the board approved the grants themselves. If you want to see a movie that Apple executives like, don’t go see “Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine,” the documentary that opens today.“An inaccurate and mean-spirited view of my friend,” Apple’s Senior Vice President Eddy Cue tweeted back in March when the movie screened at South By Southwest.A federal appeals court has thrown out the stock option backdating conviction of Gregory Reyes, the former CEO of Silicon Valley network equipment manufacturer Brocade.He was the first person to be criminally prosecuted in the Silicon Valley stock option fraud scandal.