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Late Apple director was 'disgusted' Jobs didn't reveal health issues

post #1 of 119
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Recently deceased Apple Board of Directors member Jerry York told The Wall Street Journal last year that he wished he had resigned after Apple co-founder Steve Jobs didn't publicly disclose his health issues.

The Journal this week profiled Apple's board, following the passing of York last week, and the departure of Google's chief Eric Schmidt last year. The report noted that the loss of York "has left the company with fewer independent voices, putting it in conflict with its own board's rules and renewing concerns about the board's ability to oversee strong-willed Chairman and Chief Executive Steve Jobs."

York spoke with the paper last year, and allegedly said he was bothered by how Jobs handled his illness, and the CEO's lack of public disclosure on the matter. Though the report did not say that York's comments were off the record, the fact that they were not published until he passed away would suggest that to be the case.

"In an interview with The Wall Street Journal last year, Mr. York said he almost resigned when told of the seriousness of Mr. Jobs's illness," the report said. "Mr. York felt Mr. Jobs should have publicly disclosed his health problem three weeks earlier in a news release that announced his decision not to appear at the Macworld trade conference.

"Mr. York said the concealment 'disgusted' him, adding that the only reason he didn't quit at the time was because he wanted to avoid the uproar that would have occurred once he disclosed his reason. 'Frankly, I wish I had resigned then,' he said.

In January 2009, Jobs took a leave of absence from Apple due to health-related issues. The CEO has insisted that he considers his health to be a "private matter." He eventually returned to work in June after receiving a liver transplant. With Jobs at the helm, his company's board now has just six members -- among the smallest of any Fortune 500 company.

York died last week after the 71-year-old suffered a cerebral hemorrhage. He joined Apple's board in 1997.

Last August, Google's Schmidt resigned from Apple's board after both companies entered too many of each others' core businesses, particularly as the battle between the iPhone and Android mobile operating system continues to rage. The company has made no attempt to fill Schmidt's seat since his departure.

The Journal said that Jobs has kept "tight control and directors have rarely challenged him." It noted that members of the board are handpicked by Jobs and are loyal to him. The report said that investors have "long urged Apple's directors to be more independent of the company's powerful CEO."
post #2 of 119
Not knowing much about these types of business situations, was Jobs under any moral, ethical or legal obligation to disclose his personal health issues?
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post #3 of 119
Isn't this a little ironic? This guy just *died* and he never announced to the shareholders that he, an important board member, had failing health....
post #4 of 119
Interesting article.

I believe the President releases news about health scares soon after the event.

Mr York was rightly upset by Mr Jobs' behavior IMO.

With Mr Jobs at the end of his career, diversification not concentration of authority would be the road to take.
post #5 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by jazzbo brown View Post

Isn't this a little ironic? This guy just *died* and he never announced to the shareholders that he, an important board member, had failing health....

A cerebral hemorrhage doesn't sound like something that he would have known about it. Then again, I'm not a doctor.
post #6 of 119
A cerebral hemorrhage is sudden. There's no way to predict that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jazzbo brown View Post

Isn't this a little ironic? This guy just *died* and he never announced to the shareholders that he, an important board member, had failing health....
post #7 of 119
Hmmmm... this sounds awfully familiar to 1985.
post #8 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by jazzbo brown View Post

Isn't this a little ironic? This guy just *died* and he never announced to the shareholders that he, an important board member, had failing health.

He had a hemorrhage. And he's not the CEO.
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post #9 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by bdkennedy1 View Post

Hmmmm... this sounds awfully familiar to 1985.

Yes but it's more obvious how important Steve is now and replacing his has proven to have failed before. He saved the company from oblivion. They know now they can't simply replace him.
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post #10 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by jazzbo brown View Post

Isn't this a little ironic? This guy just *died* and he never announced to the shareholders that he, an important board member, had failing health....

How exactly would you know dying from a brain aneurysm that you had failing health?
post #11 of 119
So investors want more independent board members that are not loyal to Jobs? Why? Is Jobs not making the company any money?

OH WAIT, HE'S MAKING A S***TON OF IT!

Who are these investors and where can we tie them to a tree?
post #12 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by bdkennedy1 View Post

Hmmmm... this sounds awfully familiar to 1985.

Don't you mean 1984?
post #13 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by joelesler View Post

So investors want more independent board members that are not loyal to Jobs? Why? Is Jobs not making the company any money?

OH WAIT, HE'S MAKING A S***TON OF IT!

Who are these investors and where can we tie them to a tree?

The point is if they are just puppets then there's no need for them. The point of having a board is to bring to the table different points of view and different types of expertise. Steve couldn't run Apple on his own, that's why you need lots of talent around you. You're comment makes you sound like assuming all these directors are a bunch of idiots because they are not Steve Jobs - I would hazard a guess they are not.
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post #14 of 119
So this guy says once he found out about the illness he didn't disclose it "because of the uproar it would cause." Isn't that the same reason Steve Jobs didn't disclose it?

Either they are both guilty or neither are guilty.
post #15 of 119
Who cares.
post #16 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by jazzbo brown View Post

Isn't this a little ironic? This guy just *died* and he never announced to the shareholders that he, an important board member, had failing health....

I have to say that was one of the most stupid comments ever ...

Please learn before comment ... always...

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Intracerebral bleeds are the second most common cause of stroke, accounting for 3060% of hospital admissions for stroke
post #17 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by ElmCityWeb View Post

Not knowing much about these types of business situations, was Jobs under any moral, ethical or legal obligation to disclose his personal health issues?

Good question. The only correct answer is: It is not clear under current law. The SEC offers no guidance either, and experts go both ways.
post #18 of 119
AppleInsider should say that the WSJ ALLEGES Mr. York said these things. Unless the WSJ publishes audio recordings to substantiate this, they have no credibility, in my opinion.
post #19 of 119
Say what you will about Jerome York, but he was a very straightforward guy, and I think the world needs more directors like him. (I say this despite the fact that I personally believe Jobs' health issue was a personal matter, and that is part and parcel of the risk that shareholders bear when they buy into a company like Apple. Caveat emptor, as always).
post #20 of 119
As an Apple shareholder, I do want a board that brings a diversity of perspectives and experiences that can help apple's senior management make good decisions. But I also want people who are loyal to Steve Jobs. Why would I want people who are disloyal?

Regarding health disclosures -- the key thing, I think, is that senior management and the board of directors be well informed of Jobs health situation AND that there be a transition plan ready in case Jobs dies. I think we have seen during Jobs absence that the senior management team at Apple is strong and fully capable of running the company. Steve Jobs is a special, one in a billion guy, who cannot be replaced. But Apple can still be a successful without him (there are plenty of companies that make decent profits that don't have Steve Jobs as their CEO). And so because of that, I don't mind him keeping his health issues relatively private.
post #21 of 119
Dire shouts from the editors room....

- IS THE GUYS LIFELESS BODY COLD YET?!!?

- HAS THE WIDOW STOPPED BALLING HER EYES OUT??!?!

- HAVE GRAVEDIGGERS COVERED THE CASKET?!?!

- BY THE WAY, ANYONE SEEN MY DANCING SHOES?!

Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

York spoke with the paper last year, and allegedly said he was bothered by how Jobs handled his illness, and the CEO's lack of public disclosure on the matter. Though the report did not say that York's comments were off the record, the fact that they were not published until he passed away would suggest that to be the case.

Scum of the earth... perhaps thats' a tad insulting to all the scum of the world... Perhaps I should find a better phrase to show my total disgust I have for the profession as a whole.
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post #22 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by joelesler View Post

So investors want more independent board members that are not loyal to Jobs? Why? Is Jobs not making the company any money?

OH WAIT, HE'S MAKING A S***TON OF IT!

Who are these investors and where can we tie them to a tree?

He's also had times when he got over confident, overreached, and took steps backwards. Also, had he died it would have had a major impact on the stock price and thusly the shareholders. The board isn't supposed to be looking out for jobs, they're supposed to be looking out for the interests of the shareholders.
post #23 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

Yes but it's more obvious how important Steve is now and replacing his has proven to have failed before. He saved the company from oblivion. They know now they can't simply replace him.

the company did just fine while he was away for the transplant. From a day to day running of the company perspective, they'd be just fine without him.

It's the new product development that there could be a problem. Apple is very good at identifying large markets and having their initial release be best in class while solving the reasons others failed, which includes knowing when to take their own projects back to the drawing board as many times as it takes to get them right. They've done that with MP3 players, smart phones and now tablet computers. This is largely because of Steve. He's the best in the world at this, that's difficult to replace.

Perhaps the best Apple can do there is rely on the culture Steve has created there to help maintain their focus and vision without him. Whenever he leaves this time (hopefully not for quite a while still), it'll be different than when he left in 85. In 85 he was forced out by people who thought he failed, and that perception is a large reason things went so wrong after he left (aside from the initial boom that was a result of some solid marketing).
post #24 of 119
As others have pointed out already, it was either a resignation matter or it wasn't, and events indicate it was the latter. If you do not resign over a matter that "disgusts" you, what would it take? Regarding the article itself, there are two types of sources: attributable and non-attributable. the former carries accountability and has weight, the latter does not. From the article (my emphasis):

Quote:
At Apple, Mr. Jobs has long called the shots in the boardroom, said people familiar with the matter.

Quote:
Since then, Mr. Jobs has kept tight control and directors have rarely challenged him, said people familiar with the board.

Quote:
But investors and governance experts said the company has a long way to go.

Quote:
People familiar with the board said Mr. Levinson was also a big fan of Apple and its products even before he was invited onto the board in 2000.

All non-attributable. It was my impression that American journalism was very strong on using named sources (unlike the UK press where hardly anything is attributable these days), because 'people familiar with the board' could be the office cleaners for all we know. Welcome to Murdoch World people.
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post #25 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by BenRoethig View Post

He's also had times when he got over confident, overreached, and took steps backwards. Also, had he died it would have had a major impact on the stock price and thusly the shareholders. The board isn't supposed to be looking out for jobs, they're supposed to be looking out for the interests of the shareholders.

As I just posted - Steve has a unique skill that he's the best in the world at. That skill only works as well as it does because there is a single vision. You can't diversify that. Attempting to do so while that skill is still available is the polar opposite of looking out for the interests of shareholders.
post #26 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

He had a hemorrhage. And he's not the CEO.

Wow, you must be a computer guy to be able to fail to see the humor and take the response literally.

J.
post #27 of 119
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No, internet without flash is like a dog without bricks tied around its head.
post #28 of 119
So much for "off the record".
post #29 of 119
York is dead? Good riddance. We don't need people of his ilk on the board of directors. He was a traitor.
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post #30 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by g3pro View Post

We don't need people of his ilk on the board of directors. He was a traitor.

If he disagrees with Steve's vision, he had no place on the BOD.
post #31 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by bdkennedy1 View Post

A cerebral hemorrhage is sudden. There's no way to predict that.

Other health issues that lead to increased risk for cerebral hemorrhage such as hypertension, diabetes, and high cholesterol are predictable and could be announced. Are all CEOs required to give us their entire medical history each year? It is slippery slope and I believe we should err on the side of privacy. It should be up to the board of each company to make sure the executive team is up to running the company. Public announcement of health problems is still a personal issue and release of private details is still ultimately a private matter. I think Jobs handled and continues to handle it well.
post #32 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blastdoor View Post

As an Apple shareholder, I do want a board that brings a diversity of perspectives and experiences that can help apple's senior management make good decisions. But I also want people who are loyal to Steve Jobs. Why would I want people who are disloyal?

Regarding health disclosures -- the key thing, I think, is that senior management and the board of directors be well informed of Jobs health situation AND that there be a transition plan ready in case Jobs dies. I think we have seen during Jobs absence that the senior management team at Apple is strong and fully capable of running the company. Steve Jobs is a special, one in a billion guy, who cannot be replaced. But Apple can still be a successful without him (there are plenty of companies that make decent profits that don't have Steve Jobs as their CEO). And so because of that, I don't mind him keeping his health issues relatively private.

As a shareholder myself, I am glad they didn't issue a press release on the matter, as it would have destroyed the stock. The risk-reward balance was not there.

Proper disclosure rules are critical, and companies should abide by them. Business continuity plans are necessary for loss of any critical members of staff due to SOX and plain logic. While I would love to know more about their business continuity plans, making them public would provide recruitment insight to competitors, and defeat their purpose.
post #33 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronbo View Post

So much for "off the record".

Hear, hear.

Steve is hopefully in for the long run, I am sure he knows how to pick a talent or too for the company, and I think we can safely assume that there are board members with his approval that bring a lot to the table.

I consider this a garbage article (the orignal one not ai's reporting of it of course).
post #34 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by ElmCityWeb View Post

Not knowing much about these types of business situations, was Jobs under any moral, ethical or legal obligation to disclose his personal health issues?

Legally, his health records are private (read up on HIPAA). He had no obligation to release his health issues.

There is a weak argument that if the information is material that it should be disclosed but that's purely a judgment call - and since Apple did just fine under Cook, it would not be easy to make the case that Jobs' absence was material, anyway.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jazzbo brown View Post

Isn't this a little ironic? This guy just *died* and he never announced to the shareholders that he, an important board member, had failing health....

Exactly. First, I doubt if he really said it - or perhaps it was taken out of context. If he was so disgusted, why didn't he quit? Greed over morals, perhaps?

Second, no one has any right to make this complaint unless they have published their entire medical record on the web. If his medical record is private, why not Jobs? And don't give me the crap about CEO vs board member - both positions are high level positions of responsibility. Plus, York was CEO of another company - why didn't he publish his own medical records?

For that matter, why didn't the WSJ reporter publish his own medical records?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bdkennedy1 View Post

A cerebral hemorrhage is sudden. There's no way to predict that.

Not really. An overwhelming majority of strokes are caused by a variety of factors - diabetes, blood pressure, family history, cholesterol levels, etc. Why didn't York publish his own medical history (and his family's for that matter)?

Quote:
Originally Posted by alandail View Post

As I just posted - Steve has a unique skill that he's the best in the world at. That skill only works as well as it does because there is a single vision. You can't diversify that. Attempting to do so while that skill is still available is the polar opposite of looking out for the interests of shareholders.

While people argue that Jobs is uniquely responsible for Apple's success, that's bull. A very large part of Apple's success is the powerful, talented management team that Jobs has put into place. The fact that Apple did so well while Cook was in charge is evidence of that.

Was Steve's vision important? Absolutely. But there's no reason to believe that there aren't others there today who share that vision - and could continue it if Jobs died tomorrow.
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post #35 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

"In an interview with The Wall Street Journal last year, Mr. York said he almost resigned when told of the seriousness of Mr. Jobs's illness," the report said. "Mr. York felt Mr. Jobs should have publicly disclosed his health problem three weeks earlier in a news release that announced his decision not to appear at the Macworld trade conference.

"Mr. York said the concealment 'disgusted' him, adding that the only reason he didn't quit at the time was because he wanted to avoid the uproar that would have occurred once he disclosed his reason. 'Frankly, I wish I had resigned then,' he said.

In January 2009, Jobs took a leave of absence from Apple due to health-related issues. The CEO has insisted that he considers his health to be a "private matter."

I find Mr York's opinion disgusting. Why should it be his right to know the health problems of someone else? People who work at a company are there to do a job. What happens outside of that job is nobody's business but their own even if it impacts the job itself. Knowing the issues doesn't change the effect of them. It may help a company prepare for it but they should be prepared for it anyway because you never know - someone might just drop dead.
post #36 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by BenRoethig View Post

He's also had times when he got over confident, overreached, and took steps backwards. Also, had he died it would have had a major impact on the stock price and thusly the shareholders. The board isn't supposed to be looking out for jobs, they're supposed to be looking out for the interests of the shareholders.

Ben - the first priority of the BOD is the health and well-being of the company, not necessarily the wishes, desires and concerns of the shareholders, even though they are elected by the shareholders. They decide if or when disclosure is in the best interests of the stockholders unless otherwise dictated by federal law. That includes deciding if it is in the best interests of the shareholders to disclose ANY internal information. In retrospect there is no reason to question their decision, except a certain level of nosiness and prurient interest. So the decision is vindicated in the results, not in the "what-ifs". The world's most successful companies have BODs that watchdog the company's health and well-being - a healthy and successful company gives the shreholders the growth and value in the stock that in turn drives continued investment. Conversely some of the most unsuccessful companies are those the chased shareholder opinions and desires. In fact if you look carefully, you will see cases where activist shareholders have as often as not driven a company into the ground for short-term investor gains, which allowed the shareholder to maximize their sale of their holdings shortly before the company tanked.

Now just out of curiosity, what, in your estimation, were Jobs' over-confident/ overreaching/ step backwards episodes that figure so prominently in your analysis and opinion?
post #37 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

He had a hemorrhage. And he's not the CEO.

I don't know what is more annoying, TS or your signature line.
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post #38 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by ElmCityWeb View Post

Not knowing much about these types of business situations, was Jobs under any moral, ethical or legal obligation to disclose his personal health issues?

SEC regulations require publicly-held corporations to reveal risks to the companies' success so that shareholders and potential shareholders realize the potential for failure.

In almost every SEC filing, there's standard boilerplate text saying that loss of senior management and other key employees due to injury/death/resignation/etc. can materially effect the company's ability to execute its business plan in a timely manner in a competitive environment, blah blah blah. Changes in the risk factors must be reported in these filings. The onset of cancer in the CEO is a change in the risk factors. If Steve caught a cold, not so much.

So it is arguable that Steve withheld information (his serious medical condition) that caused Apple to fail at revealing an important risk that could potentially jeopardize Apple's ability to execute its business plans.
post #39 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by g3pro View Post

York is dead? Good riddance. We don't need people of his ilk on the board of directors. He was a traitor.

Based on the full page tribute to Mr. York on the front page of www.apple.com the day after he died, it appears that Apple did not consider him a traitor.
post #40 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by cvaldes1831 View Post

SEC regulations require publicly-held corporations to reveal risks to the companies' success so that shareholders and potential shareholders realize the potential for failure.

In almost every SEC filing, there's standard boilerplate text saying that loss of senior management and other key employees due to injury/death/resignation/etc. can materially effect the company's ability to execute its business plan in a timely manner in a competitive environment, blah blah blah.

So it is arguable that Steve withheld information (his serious medical condition) that caused Apple to fail at revealing an important risk that could potentially jeopardize Apple's ability to execute its business plans.

It was the opinion of Jobs (and, presumably, the Board - since no one resigned from the board over the issue) that the risk was minimal, so there was no reason for disclosure. In retrospect, the fact that Apple did just fine under Cook confirms that they were correct.

Furthermore, there's no consensus that Jobs would have been required to disclose the information even if he HADN'T believe that Cook could do the job.
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