Steve Jobs testifies to feeling underappreciated by Apple board

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
Roughly four years after returning to Apple, Steve Jobs had set the company on course for one of the most remarkable comebacks in Silicon Valley history but says he felt underappreciated by his board of directors and as a result asked for a sizable stock grant that would later play a major role in the company's widely publicized option-backdating scandal.



Leveraging the Freedom of Information Act, Forbes magazine was able to obtain a transcript of the 119-page deposition Jobs gave to the Securities and Exchange Commission last year regarding the role of his former general counsel Nancy Heinen in matter. He was also probed in regard to his knowledge of the situation and whether he fully understood the implications of backdating stock options.



Apple was one of dozens of companies to come under investigation by the SEC after it disclosed late in December of 2006 that an internal audit had turned up irregularities in 6,428 option grants. Although Jobs was never charged with any wrongdoing, Heinen and former chief financial officer Fred Anderson were separately indicted for their roles in the backdating of two large grants given to Jobs and other members of Apple's top brass.



Both Anderson and Heinen -- who was also accused of fabricating minutes of a phantom board meeting that never took place -- resigned (1, 2) from Apple ahead of the formal charges and ultimately went on to strike deals with the SEC by which they agreed, without admitting any wrongdoing, to hefty fines and the disgorgement of proceeds received from exercising their own backdated options.



In March of 2008, representatives for the SEC interviewed Jobs for three hours at Apple's Cupertino-based campus as part of their case against Heinen. Throughout the meeting, Jobs maintained that he lacked a general understanding of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) and options backdating, and in many cases stated that he didn't know or could not recall the answers to the investigator's questions.



More interesting, however, was Jobs' disclosure that he alone in 2001 requested the 7.5 million share options grant, later revealed to have been backdated, because he wasn't feeling appreciated by his directors for his efforts, especially with all of his prior stock options haven fallen underwater when the dot-com bubble burst. Jobs later traded the grant for restricted stock units with less value.



"It wasn't so much about the money," he testified. "Everybody likes to be recognized by his peers. ... I felt that the board wasn't really doing the same with me. [...] I just felt like there is nobody looking out for me here, you know. ... So I wanted them to do something, and so we talked about it. ... I thought I was doing a pretty good job."



Jobs, who added that it would "have made him feel better" had the board proposed the grant on its own, said the options were approved during an August 2001 meeting when Apple shares were at $17.83 but that he continued to debate the vesting terms of the options with the board, which caused the company to miss a filing deadline. Option backdating isn't illegal as long as a company properly accounts for the move in its financial disclosures.



Both sides finally hammered out the fine points of the grant on December 18th, but by then Apple's shares had risen to $21.01. The decision was ultimately made to backdate the grant to October 19th when the share price was at $18.30, which led to the minutes of the original August board meeting being doctor and those for a non-existant October meeting crafted out of thin air.



In the deposition obtained by Forbes, Jobs denied any knowledge of the falsified meeting minutes until the scandal became public and said another grant of 4.8 million backdated options to top Apple executives -- including Anderson and Heinen -- was critical to keeping his executive branch intact.



"I was very concerned because Michael Dell, one of our chief competitors, had flown Fred Anderson, our CFO, down to Austin ... to try and recruit him," Jobs said, adding that Dell had several other Apple managers in its sights as well.



In late December of 2006, Apple announced that it would incur a total additional non-cash stock-based compensation expense of $84 million after tax, including $4 million and $7 million in fiscal years 2006 and 2005, respectively, to square itself with the federal government as a result of the backdating mess.



For his part, Anderson has maintained that Jobs played a role in the backdating of the executive team grant and that he had a better understanding of the general accounting principles than Apple led the public to believe.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 63
    tenobelltenobell Posts: 7,014member
    Every narcissist wants his balls stroked, it goes with the personality disorder.
  • Reply 2 of 63
    buzdotsbuzdots Posts: 449member
    This is not even news..........



    But just for the hell of it.... Steve, YOU ARE THE MAN!!



    You can come run my company any damn day of the week!
  • Reply 3 of 63
    kasperkasper Posts: 941member, administrator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by BuzDots View Post


    This is not even news..........



    But just for the hell of it.... Steve, YOU ARE THE MAN!!



    You can come run my company any damn day of the week!



    Says yourself. There's certainly points of interest in the deposition uncovered by Forbes. Many of them never reported before.



    Kasper
  • Reply 4 of 63
    dhagan4755dhagan4755 Posts: 2,148member
    I wonder if Steve reads these boards. I bet he does on occasions.
  • Reply 5 of 63
    bugsnwbugsnw Posts: 713member
    Teno: No, that comes along with the presence of the Y Chromosome.



    I find the argument that companies have to reward upper management with 10s of millions of stock options a little disingenuous. It's more greed than logic. So Fred was on the verge of moving over to Dell, save for a pile of options that kept him at Apple?



    The cost of this way of thinking exceeds the benefits. I'm all for getting rich and enjoying success, whatever amount that may be. I just don't like the short term focus it can create and the destructive accounting shenanigans that often follow.



    When you take the risk out of gambling, you take out all the fun. Options based on meeting certain performance objectives shouldn't also reward the failure to meet those objectives.



    Steve is worth whatever appropriate level of reward is deemed by his board. Apple has outperformed in a huge way. I"m talking about this general climate of rewarding mediocrity and failure.
  • Reply 6 of 63
    istinkistink Posts: 250member
    This is definitely news dude.



    I'm actually surprised at how Jobs gets treated and I think a lot of these scandals stem from Apple's own management lacking faith in the company being able to bounce back. Why would you be so careless with something which had a future you wanted a major roll in?
  • Reply 7 of 63
    addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,660member
    Going by the reminisces of the original Mac people (can't be bothered to dredge up the link right now), Jobs was pretty cavalier about recognizing the contributions of his team. Or at the very least erratic and mercurial.



    The Jobs of that era probably would have fired the Jobs that wanted stock options, and done it in an incredibly asshole-ish way.
  • Reply 8 of 63
    bloggerblogbloggerblog Posts: 1,822member
    Hey!!! I want Steve to run my company too.



    Quote:

    ...including $4 million and $7 million in fiscal years 2006 and 2005, respectively, to square itself with the federal government as a result of the backdating mess.



    Riiight, as if the gov is so organized, maybe we should bill our gov for every time they mess up too.
  • Reply 9 of 63
    istinkistink Posts: 250member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by addabox View Post


    Going by the reminisces of the original Mac people (can't be bothered to dredge up the link right now), Jobs was pretty cavalier about recognizing the contributions of his team. Or at the very least erratic and mercurial.



    The Jobs of that era probably would have fired the Jobs that wanted stock options, and done it in an incredibly asshole-ish way.



    Well that's true. I mean this was back in 2001 when things hadn't really turned around like we see today.
  • Reply 10 of 63
    teckstudteckstud Posts: 6,476member
    Apple Dirt- not good.
  • Reply 11 of 63
    teckstudteckstud Posts: 6,476member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post


    Every narcissist wants his balls stroked, it goes with the personality disorder.



    Then yours must be sandpapered to a high gloss.
  • Reply 12 of 63
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by BuzDots View Post


    This is not even news..........



    It is news, but the headline is slightly deceptive. The stock option backdating was a major affair that looked at one time as though it might land Steve Jobs in prison?this story helps explain why it didn't come to that. It is worth noting that the board never really appreciated what they had in Jobs as CEO, but that's not the most important aspect of the story.
  • Reply 13 of 63
    I wonder if he feels under appreciated now?
  • Reply 14 of 63
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,865member
    If you have a superstar running the show, you have to expect some petulance... Keep stamping your feet, Steve!
  • Reply 15 of 63
    tylerk36tylerk36 Posts: 1,037member
    I emailed Steve and here is what I said.



    Steve. Your way is the best way. The board members need to appreciate where you have taken this company. You are the good in apple. Your health is not an issue. You are not the issue. The board seems to have always been the issue. This company and its future should be the issue. Keep up the good work. Kick ass. Take names.



    Steve needs more support than criticism. Screw the board if they don't appreciate him. The future is here and now! By the way Al stand up for Steve and do what is right in Steve's eyes.
  • Reply 16 of 63
    rot'napplerot'napple Posts: 1,839member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    "It wasn't so much about the money," he testified.







    You know when somebody says, "it ain't about the money"... it's about the money! PERIOD!



    I would have loved to have been in the room if the board apologized for making Steve feel under appreciated and got him a Job Well Done plaque. I bet that would have soothed over things nicely. And of course it ain't about the money but we began talks on this date when the stock was at this price and by the time we came to an agreement the stock had risen to this price. So let us go with the former. Right! Hey Steve, I meant to sell my Apple stock when the stock price was over $199.00, not when it dropped to $70 ish. Will you and Apple make up the difference?
  • Reply 17 of 63
    tylerk36tylerk36 Posts: 1,037member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Rot'nApple View Post






    You know when somebody says, "it ain't about the money"... it's about the money! PERIOD!



    I would have loved to have been in the room if the board apologized for making Steve feel under appreciated and got him a Job Well Done plaque. I bet that would have soothed over things nicely. And of course it ain't about the money but we began talks on this date when the stock was at this price and by the time we came to an agreement the stock had risen to this price. So let us go with the former. Right! Hey Steve, I meant to sell my Apple stock when the stock price was over $199.00, not when it dropped to $70 ish. Will you and Apple make up the difference?



    The Plaque needs to be the size of a billboard. JOB WELL DONE.
  • Reply 18 of 63
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,865member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tylerk36 View Post


    I emailed Steve and here is what I said.



    Steve. Your way is the best way. The board members need to appreciate where you have taken this company. You are the good in apple. Your health is not an issue. You are not the issue. This company and its future is. Keep up the good work. Kick ass. Take names.



    Steve needs more support than criticism. Screw the board if they don't appreciate him. The future is here and now! By the way Al stand up for Steve and do what is right in Steve's eyes.



    Why would you e-mail him this? First of all, Jobs will view this information getting out as a violation of his privacy. Second, he hasn't been reading this article along with us, so he'll likely not even know what you were referring to.
  • Reply 19 of 63
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,865member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Rot'nApple View Post






    You know when somebody says, "it ain't about the money"... it's about the money! PERIOD!



    I would have loved to have been in the room if the board apologized for making Steve feel under appreciated and got him a Job Well Done plaque. I bet that would have soothed over things nicely. And of course it ain't about the money but we began talks on this date when the stock was at this price and by the time we came to an agreement the stock had risen to this price. So let us go with the former. Right! Hey Steve, I meant to sell my Apple stock when the stock price was over $199.00, not when it dropped to $70 ish. Will you and Apple make up the difference?



    Jobs is all about getting his opinion out, having people break their backs to implement his near-impossible demands.... I think we've all known someone like Teh Stevez. He's still worth it.
  • Reply 20 of 63
    This is excellent reporting. This is what financial reporting should be all about: actually based on researching a story. And, it provides a fascinating window into the persona of -- like him or hate him -- one of the greatest business personalities of all time. (Yeah, spare me....)



    Congratulations to Forbes.
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