New York Times Explores the Secrecy of Apple and the Health of Steve Jobs

Talking Business – Apple’s Culture of Secrecy – NYTimes.com
This is a deceiving headline from the New York Times.  The story is more on the health of Steve Jobs and when should a company disclose information about the health of their CEO.

It is quite a dilema.  When should a company disclose that there CEO is sick?

A public company has the duty to disclose things that could provide information to its shareholers so they can make the right decision about their investment.

The article quotes a spokesman for the Securities and Exchange Commission who said that the law defined materiality as information that “the reasonable investor needs to know in order to make an informed decision about his investment.”

The issue of Jobs health came up in Apple’s Third Quarter Conference Call and an analyst asked the question.  But Apple just kinda blew it off saying it was a private matter.

Other companies have dealt with the issue, each in different ways.  Intel’s CEO was stricken with cancer.  He informed the board and management, but not the shareholders.  A McDonald’s CEO found out he had cancer and it was announced pretty quick.

Luckily for Intel’s CEO he survived, but the McDonald’s CEO resigned shortly thereafter and passed quickly after that.

To me, if Steve Jobs was sick and it would effect how he would do his job, then it would need to be disclosed.  But Apple blowing it off and saying nothing but that it is a private matter does no exude confidence in the shareholders of Apple.

The secrecy veil that Apple has cast over its company creates more problems than they should be having, but it adds to the mystique and allure of Apple.  It is the culture of Apple that everyone loves.

I just wish they and other companies would be more open about the health of their CEO’s so investors and shareholders would have more information to make the right investment decisions.

Someone just told me that you need to research and like the direction of the product, management, and marketing of a company. If you don’t, then don’t invest in it.

Right now, there are questions about management, especially Steve Jobs. Without Jobs, is there an Apple?  I would be interested in your thoughts.

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