Arthur Leavitt told Bloomberg on Monday that he believes Apple's board of directors has acted appropriately when revealing information about its company's CEO. He also revealed that after leaving the SEC, he was approached about joining Apple's board, but the offer was rescinded because of differences about governance.
"It's easy to criticize the board, but I think the reality is that someone who owns Apple stock has got to be deaf, dumb and blind not to know that Jobs has an illness that can reoccur at any time," Leavitt reportedly said.
He said the announcement on Monday that Jobs will take a medical leave of absence from Apple is sufficient information for investors.
"For the board to opine on what the extent of the illness is right now I don't think is really necessary," he said.
Jobs issued a letter to Apple employees on Monday to reveal that he has taken a medical leave of absence, though he will retain his title as CEO and will be involved in major strategic decisions for the company. He also requested that the privacy of himself and his family be respected.
Jobs has long held the belief that his health is a private matter, though some investors, critics and pundits have argued otherwise. With a company such as Apple, where the success has been so closely attributed to Jobs, some hold the belief that details about Jobs' condition should be made public.
The current leave of absence marks the third for Jobs, who had surgery in 2004 to address pancreatic cancer. He also left the company in January of 2009 to receive a liver transplant, and returned in June of that year.
This week it was also revealed that Jobs allegedly traveled to Switzerland during his leave in 2009 for cancer treatment. With all those details of Jobs' history with cancer out in the open, Levitt said he believes investors know the risks.